What Would You Do?

Today’s reading is Hebrews 2.

Has your boss ever assigned a task for you to complete you felt was “below you?” Did you grumble or complain to them or someone else….or at least under your breath at a minimum? Did you do the job to the best of your ability? I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play golf at the course I grew up working on as a kid with my Dad, brother, one of my nephews, and my son the last few days. As we told many funny stories about things that happened while my brother and I worked out there, I couldn’t help but think of one story which wasn’t necessarily funny as I read Hebrews 2. It was my 3rd summer working there, and I expected to be moving up to tasks like mowing greens and fairways. While I did get the larger responsibility to change the cups and hole location daily, I was also assigned tasks to pull weeds out of flower beds while a few of the other workers who started the same time were assigned other, more dynamic tasks. Although I would like to say I did it cheerfully, I was not happy. I felt I was above that task after a few years of working there and doing what I felt was a better than the other guys at whatever I was assigned. In fact, after a few weeks of this, I just went and found another job working construction for my Dad’s best friend.

Let’s just say I’m glad Jesus didn’t have the same mindset and find another job like me. We are told here in Hebrews 2:10 that Jesus was “for whom and by whom all things exist.” Yet, we are then told in Hebrews 2:14-18….

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”

I’m pretty sure I have mentioned this before in past writings, but when doing street ministry a few years ago for Spread Truth, one gentleman said he didn’t believe the Gospel because no God would lower himself to do what Jesus did. Essentially, he said if he were God that’s not what he would do. Well, he was right, none of us likely would because we are not God, and we can’t imagine the love He has for us and what He did. At age 18, I was already “above pulling weeds,” so how I can I fathom God coming in the flesh and suffering a brutal and painful death on my behalf, taking my place, when He didn’t have to? I can’t. But, I can get on my knees and just say thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYe9sWYKdo

 

 

 

It’s Not Our Job

2 Tim 2

Our kids are in their twenties now, but several years back our daughters told me how frustrated they were with me for not making their brother behave the way he should have. We tried…believe me we tried everything we could think of to steer him, but the truth was, he made his own decisions. As parents, we could alter his environment but we could not alter his heart. We could use consequences to get a certain result, but we could not force him to think differently about a given situation. I started with this example, but the truth is that we all face this issue with the people in our lives. Do you ever wish you could change the way someone thinks about a certain issue? Have you ever tried to reason with someone to get them to see truth instead of oppose it? How about trying to move someone to be more passionate about something they already believe in but don’t show much action in? It happens with people at work, at church, in our families, in friendships, and sometimes even in chance meetings with others.

 

Second Timothy is a letter written by Paul at the end of his ministry to encourage Timothy in living out the Good News and sharing that Good News with others. In vs 22-25 Paul says to Timothy, ”Pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn truth.” These few verses are beautiful Godly guidelines to live by. As I am in relationship with anyone, I should first “pursue righteous living” aiming my heart at God and working to be “faithful” so I can love others and be at “peace” with them consistently. I must “be kind to everyone”. So simple, but so much more difficult to execute…I must be kind to EVERYONE. (Including the ones who annoy me, the ones who hurt me, and the ones who are indifferent to me.) I need to be prepared, willing and “able to teach” God’s truth to everyone in my life. I am also instructed to “be patient with difficult people”. I have work to do in my own heart before getting to the “gently instructing those who oppose truth” part. Lets be clear here about the fact that these verses are talking about people who oppose God’s truth, not people in my life who oppose my opinions. There is a difference.

 

Verse 25 is powerful when considering conversations or relationships with people who oppose God’s truth. I think we sometimes get sucked into conversations or arguments that get heated because we want so desperately for people to understand God’s truth. Did you catch the second sentence in vs 25? “Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” It’s not our job to change people’s hearts. We are not capable no matter how good our intensions or how strong our theological argument is. God is the only one powerful enough, yet gentle enough, to know how a person actually thinks, and reveal truth to that person which changes their heart.  This is why Paul tells us to “gently instruct” and then turn the person over to God and pray that He might change their heart. This may seem to be simple…just pray for the person… but faithful prayer is not a onetime thing.  Have you prayed faithfully for anyone in your life? Do you know the time and energy it takes to be faithful? Can you count the number of years you have prayed for a specific person to see truth? In my experience, and listening to others who pray faithfully, asking God to reveal truth to another person is usually a long-term proposition. If you are currently praying for someone to know God’s truth, I want to encourage you today to stay faithful. Asking God to change their hearts is our only hope. It is the only thing besides loving that person that we can do to affect real change. In my early years of praying, I used to think that God got sick of hearing the same ask for truth in someone’s life day after day after day. Now after more experience, I have come to realize that my prayer for myself day after day after day is for God’s truth, only as much as I can handle today, to change me. As I have experienced the freshness and renewal of that prayer and His work in my own life, I can pray the same way for others with deep passion and strong hope.  It doesn’t feel rote or repetitive. It is strengthens my relationship with God because I know His desire is the same for that person.

 

This morning can we take a few minutes to ask God what truth He wants to instill in each of us today? Can we consider committing to praying faithfully for someone we love to be open to God’s truth in their lives?

1 Timothy 1

Recently I was having a conversation with a lady in a courtroom. She had been found guilty of several crimes and was waiting for her sentencing, unsure whether she would be headed home or to jail for up to a year. Through the conversation she shared other struggles she was facing and her hopelessness. I invited her to come to church and suggested that she may be able to find useful resources through church that would benefit her family. Her response was, “Oh – I can’t go to church, that’s for religious people. People like me don’t go to church.”

Timothy says “…though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Tim 1:13-16

Sometimes I wish there were magic glasses that I could put on which would allow me to see only what is inside a person without the distraction of all that is on the outside. God is able to do that – appearance means nothing to him. How “religious” someone acts does not impress. He gave mercy so that through His mercy to us we would be an example to others of His perfect patience.

How do you think non-believers perceive Christ’s love and mercy through you?

 

 

 

 

 

Leaders Teach

Titus 2

Last week, I found myself in a debate about leadership.  The cause in question was about who the leaders are.  Sure, leaders can easily be identified as the ones in charge.  That title, of course, does not necessarily make them leaders.  It might simply make them the boss.  Today, our assigned reading is Titus 2, but I would encourage you to read all three books of Titus.  In them, Paul teaches us about leadership.  In addition to outlining the leadership traits we need to develop as Christ-followers, he also identifies who the leaders are.  In short, Paul determines that everyone who is a Christ-follower is a leader.

Before we get too far, I would like to share with you a definition of leadership that I have adopted.  It comes from the founder of Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller.  He describes a leader as someone who teaches people how to think so that they can get what they want when they want it.  It’s that first part, that I have come to love.  A leader teaches people how to think.  Paul breaks this down for us in Titus.

First, he encourages us to “promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.”  The ESV translates wholesome teaching as “sound doctrine.”  For Christ-followers, there is only one source; the Bible.  The foundation of this BibleJournal exercise is built on exactly that.  Our core values include the following.

Second, Paul encourages us to be above reproach.  Specifically, he says, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”  Titus 2:7-8

Finally, and perhaps most important is the reminder that God’s grace makes it possible.  Godly leadership is simply not possible on our own.  This is a fact that C.S. Lewis understood clearly.  In his book Mere Christianity, he explains it perfectly.

the change which I most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about. And this applies to my good actions too. How many of them were done for the right motive? How many for fear of public opinion, or a desire to show off? How many from a sort of obstinacy or sense of superiority which, in different circumstances, might equally have led to some very bad act? But I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives.  After the first few steps in the Christian life we realise that everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.

All Christ-followers are called to leadership.  I am blessed beyond measure to be part of this BibleJournal.  A team of leaders that are committed to teaching Biblically, living properly and experiencing God’s grace daily through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Godspeed to you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Lewis, C. S.. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (p. 193). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Superhero!

Last week, our church hosted kids 9-11 years old at a Superhero themed camp in the great outdoors. Truth be told, superheroes in modern culture aren’t my forte. While they’re all the rage right now, I could maybe identify two superheroes by name in a 3-man lineup. EEEEK – stick with me, all you Marvel fans out there – yes, I googled that.

 

So what’s a dork mom to do when she’s trying to hang with the cool kids all excited about superheroes? I don’t know, put on a mask and cape, and give yourself a cool super hero name! Double EEEEK! I couldn’t even think of a cool superpower!

But here was the cool thing about this camp – you know where this is going, right? JESUS is the ultimate, matchless, most powerful superhero EVER!!! And HE is a superhero I do know something about and has come to my rescue. I could write the never ending sequels to all the times He has saved the day and saved me.

 

While we swapped stories, sang songs, swam, hiked; we also learned about our Superhero Jesus! These kids just melted me and brought my heart to a much needed child-like place of faith. During one evening of devotions we shared in our small groups who some of the superheroes are in our life. I had one camper share that her parents were her superheroes because she was adopted from St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and born with medical problems. Her mom couldn’t take care of her, so her parents stepped in and adopted her and gave her a better life. Another one of my campers shared that her mom was a veteran and served in the military protecting people, and she was her superhero. These girls get it – they recognized at an early age how they had superheroes in their life. People that protected them, defended them, cared for them, even at their own risk or loss. These are people that are following Jesus and showing His sacrificial love. We learned an awesome song at camp with this verse: Jesus, You’re my Superhero, You swooped down and You rescued me”.

 

Jesus is our first and best Superhero, perfectly demonstrating how to love the unlovely, grace the sinner, and protect the weak. And while we can never perfectly mirror Jesus, we sure can strive for excellence! 1 Peter 1:16 encourages us to “Be Holy, for I am Holy”.

 

And as we open up to our reading for today – the entire book of Philemon (one chapter), we see Paul following in Jesus’ footsteps. He serves as a superhero to Onesimus, standing in the gap between Onesimus & Philemon, the recipient of this letter. Onesimus (I’ve heard it pronounced oh-NESS-i-muss) was a slave that ran away from Philemon, and while on the run he became a Christ follower, taught by Paul and loved by Paul. Paul sends him back to Philemon with this letter, vouching for Onesimus, building up his character, taking on his debt, and asking for him to be received how Philemon would receive Paul himself. He asks all these things in love, rather than requiring it from Philemon, as his superior in the early church.

 

This is a really cool letter to study with so many little glimpses of Jesus shining through. Paul humbles himself when he doesn’t have to. He has a heart for reconciliation between people he cares deeply for. Paul is willing to assume the debt or restitution of Onesimus – interceding for the people he is leading.

 

While we never know exactly how this situation ends, we do know that Paul was very confident that Philemon would respond favorable to Paul’s request of reconciliation (vs. 21). And at the very end of this letter we get one more little clue of reconciliation in Paul’s world. He sends greetings from Mark – who he was separated from in the ministry for a period of time due to a disagreement (Acts 13 & 15) and yet here we see that they have reconciled and Paul is sending greetings on Mark’s behalf. I love this picture of how the Holy Spirit leads people to reconciliation, and sometimes uses one another in the process.

 

Have you had someone stand in the gap for you, vouch for you, take on your debt when they weren’t responsible? Maybe someone backed you in the workplace, or stuck up for you in school. We are surrounded by superheroes that are following Jesus’ footsteps – from organ donors to foster parents, teachers and firemen. Take a moment and reflect on and thank God for the superheroes He has sent your way. These people are the gospel message in action – standing in the gap and interceding for us just like Jesus did at Calvary. Our perfect Superhero took on our sin debt, vouched for us, pleaded for our forgiveness, all while we were still sinners. Jesus is our Superhero!

Actions vs. Words

Last night I dreamed I was on a ship amidst a serious storm. There were monstrous waves which ultimately caused the ship to capsize. I was trapped inside with water draining into the room. There was no way out, this was it, death by drowning was imminent. I would meet my creator within moments.

Did I get it right? Have I lived a life worthy of my calling? Should I be in fear or at peace? Am I truly saved? What if…?

The bottom line is, have my life’s actions spoken louder than my words? I proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ, but do I live it out? And what are the results of my actions?

While fortunately we are not saved by works, our actions and the fruit we bear (good or bad) reflect the lives we lead. Empty words are like water vaporizing into the sky on a hot summer day.

In today’s reading in Colossians 1 we have actions and results:

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives (Colossians 1:6a)

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. (Colossians 1:10a)

So it is with Christ as he took action: Christ rescued us, transferred us, purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

We were once enemies of God. Separated from him, but Jesus took action and brought the result of mercy and grace: Reconciliation with Him through his death.

 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Colossians 1:22)

What actions is God calling you and I to right now? Who do we need to love and serve today? Who do we need to forgive or to ask for forgiveness? Do our actions today and every day reflect true gratitude for the magnitude of what Jesus has done and is doing in our lives?

Equal Opportunity

Today’s Reading:  Ephesians 3

As my 12 year old daughter Annika and I were driving in the car last week, she said to me, “Mom, what is the American Dream”?  I reminded her that the United States was founded by immigrants who fled their homeland in search of a better life.  Freedom from the King of England, who ruled over them without giving them a representative voice in the government, was their goal.  Our nation was founded on the principle of equal opportunity – everyone should have a chance.  The American Dream, more specifically, is the ideal that every person should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.

As we celebrate Intendance Day, the 243rd anniversary of the United States, it is fitting that our scripture today is the 3rd chapter of Ephesians (Galatians 5 would have been even better, but Ephesians 3 will do).  Paul’s message in this chapter was about God’s Plan.  Do you see the parallel?  God’s plan is also based on the principle of equal opportunity.

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6).

Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is about equal opportunity because it is available to EVERYONE.  It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from or what you’ve done.  By putting your faith in Jesus Christ, the blood he shed on the cross covers your sins and makes you acceptable to God.  Here’s where the parallel ends though – unlike the American Dream, salvation cannot be earned through hard work, determination, and initiative.  It is a gift of God.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Every year when you watch the 4th of July fireworks finale while listening to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, do you feel a strong wave of patriotism wash over you?  Sometimes it makes me passionately sing along, sometimes it makes me put my hand on my heart, but every time it makes me grateful for those who gave their lives to fight for and protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.  Did you notice a similar finale in Ephesians 3?  In verses 3:14-21, Paul was overcome with emotion as he remembered everything God had done, he passionately prayed for the church at Ephesus and closed by giving all glory and praise to God.  Does Ephesians 3:20-21 stir emotion in you?  Instead of putting our hands on our hearts this July 4th, Paul’s finale in Ephesians 3 should bring us to our knees.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Letters from Prison

Todays reading is Ephesians 2

Paul is in a Roman jail because of his love for Jesus and he is writing a letter of encouragement to the church in Ephesus. He is encouraging them to keep believing in Jesus and do His good work in the midst of harsh persecution.  Tychichus visited Paul in jail and took the letter home to share with the church. It is a letter full of encouragement and reminders of all that God has done.

I personally thrive when I am encouraged. If I get a pat on the back or  some kind of attention for a job well done I will hang on to that moment for days.  Put me with other people who are encouraging and excited and I quickly catch the fever. I picture the big company “rah rah” seminars that get everybody pumped up to sell this or that and get excited to move up to the next level or be the best seller for the month. Everyone is excited to perform and get better and get moving. All because they hold a common belief or common goal. This letter is the “rah rah” seminar for Jesus! It reminds us of who we are and why we do what we do.

  • 2:4-5 But God is so rich in his mercy , and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Jesus from the dead.
  • 2:6 For He raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms.
  • 2:8 God saved you by his special favor when you believed; it is a GIFT from God.
  • 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

All this from a man in prison to encourage others who were free to spread the Good News of Jesus. He goes on to remind them that we are all one in Christ. This is our common core value.

  • 2: 18 Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
  • 2:20 We are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.

The best news is that it is all a GIFT. There is nothing we can do to earn it, we just accept it and believe.

Be encouraged today! You are God’s masterpiece!

Shelly

 

 

Rome at last

Today’s Reading: Acts 28:16-31

During the summer months many people attempt and make successful family trips to various places. Some may be right in your backyard while others take you to far off exotic places.  Now, I’m not even going to try to connect these trip to that of Paul’s journey to Rome in Acts 28, but want to just dig a little deeper into Paul’s legal trip to Rome and highlight the influence he had in a specific place God divinely brought him to, in order to influence others.

Mindset’s, or lets say faith-sets make a difference. Paul’s trip to Rome was a “legal matter“, he was a ward of the military system and placed on house arrest and guarded in Rome for two years. What did he do? Paul thanked God, he took courage. verse 15 This wasn’t the way Paul planned to reach Rome but knew God had blessed him by allowing him to get there.

What is my response?  So…maybe the trip you take for work, or the family vacation to “not your ideal location“, or a stay at the your in-laws or your own extended family is like house arrest or a trip that you don’t have any control over.  Maybe its sitting at the practice or game with other parents? Talking outside with neighbors?  Either way, let’s make these summer trips or even just our daily routines like we have the mindset of Paul.  Our journey today may not include chains, being shipwrecked, and the many other trials in a physical sense or maybe it has? We all have a story and trials we face daily. So if it has felt that way like it did for Paul, trust that God is working all things out for good (Romans 8:28) for you as well.  God may not always allow us to feel comfortable and secure, but He provides us the opportunity to do His work.  Look at the work Paul was doing. When our journey is feeling difficult, we need to lean in a little closer to God and trust in His plan for our varied journey’s or storms like Lynden mentioned yesterday.

God called Paul to see and speak with both Jews and Gentiles in Romes.  Paul knew that the hearts of the people were calloused, ears were dull for hearing, and their eyes were closed (Acts 28:26-27) still, Paul would speak of God and speak of the glorious message that can convert a heart,can heal deafness, or any loss of sight. This is the same message that have changed our hearts, opened our eyes, and opened our ears to hear His Living Word.   These verses are originally quoted in Isaiah 6:9-10 where God was using Isaiah in Jerusalem to convert hearts.

God uses Paul, He used Isaiah, He is using us to share His message.  That even today in the spaces and places where it may seem hard or not favorable to share because of hardened hearts, closed ears, and blind eyes. Jesus will use His words spoken through us to convert, change, and heal those who are hurting. Those who feel like they have nowhere to go. Those who have lost all trust and faith in others… you can point them t to God.  Maybe this was your story? I know it was mine.

This summer we have some mini trips planned, many days will be spent around our home and neighborhood. some days will be spent at work, at the pool, practices or games.  Although, we may not be on house arrest, the fact is that without others knowing about God and His love for us, many will be in a lot worse place then jail for eternity. I’m humbled and amazed to think that Paul wrote letters like Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians, (the Prison Epistles) during this time. Paul wrote these letters for the millions that have read them through the centuries, he wrote them for you and me. Paul wrote while changing the hearts of many who were in his presence in these years at Rome.  Rome, a place that had many gods, similar to the many gods that we can focus on today.  Let’s not let these worldly things get in our way.  Let’s take today, and every day in our short lives here on Earth to preach about the Kingdom of God, and those things which concern the Lord Jesus, with all boldness and without hindrance.

Welcome to Rome biblejournal family, don’t worry about the words to say, God is with you, go with boldness.

 

The Perfect Storm

Todays Reading Acts 27

Water.  This integral element has been an essential part of creation from the beginning of existence.

Genesis 1:2

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Through water we are borne, purified, and sanctified.  Water can be manifested in many ways: seas, lakes, rivers, dew, rain, and storms.  In these many different forms water can embody both: order and chaos. Order manifested as rivers, lakes, and seas: water is used for food, transportation, and cleansing.  Chaos manifested as rain, tempest and storms it can bring refreshment, cleaning, and clarity.

Throughout the bible, God uses storms to get our attention and bring a new revelation to our current situation.  God has many types of storms to get us to refocus and look to Him. The first storm that is mentioned is the storm with Noah. God uses this storm as a communication tool.  He used the storm and the flood to communicate His sadness of the people who wanted to turn away from Him and submit to their own desires and God offers this salvation to the world through cleansing.  Another time that God uses the storm as a communication tool is with Jonah.  During the time that Jonah is trying to escape his duties and obligations, God send a tempest to the sea where Jonah is traveling.  This allows God to communicate to Jonah, but it also is used as miracle moment where the sailors start to praise God for the awesome powers that they witnessed.

In the new testament, God through Jesus, shows the true power of Christ amid several storms.  These storms are demonstration devices.  In Matthew 8 and 14:

Matthew: 23- 27

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

 

Matthew 14:23- 27

When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[b] from the land,[c]beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[d] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

These instances were demonstrations of the complete and ultimate power that Christ possess in the bible and in our lives.

In Acts 27, as Paul is coming to the closure of his mission, he is sent to Rome to be persecuted by Caesar.  In the previous chapters, Paul makes his case to Agrippa and then is sent to Rome by ship.  This trip takes several months to complete.  During this time, Paul can communicate and share the gospel with many of the crew members and the guards from Rome.  They all know this man as a decent man, but he is still considered a prisoner and not truly worthy of any grace.  But God uses this opportunity to produce some amazing miracle moments.

  • Be strong in your convictions and knowledge of whose you are:
    • Acts 27: 21- 25: “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told
    • We to listen to direction from God and his messengers to be delivered and saved
      • Acts 27: 30- 32: And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.
  • When the time for deliverance is ready, we must be ready
    • Acts 27: 33-34: “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength,[f] for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 

In all the storms that we have seen in the bible and in our lives, we should inquire: What is the revelation that God is presenting to me: Is it a communication tool, a demonstration device, or a miracle moment?   When we allow God to reveal this to us, then we must then be strong in our relationship with God and know that this is something that will create a deeper relationship and expand our work through Him.