Saturday, August 9, 2014

P4 Weathering the storms of life - reaching the intended destination

Acts 27:42-43 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape; 43 but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.

For the past several days we have been making our way through Acts 27. We have been focusing our attention upon the subject of life's storms, and how as God's people we can weather them. The main point of application throughout this series has been: "God is in charge over storms and meets us in them". We have seen how God will shine rays of hope in storms.  We have also learned that even though there may not be a discernible purpose at times, yet God provides in the midst of storms. Just because we cannot see the purpose does not mean there isn't one. To be met by God in the storm is more important than knowing the purpose. Paul models to us a man of God who ended up being a leader among some of those who were assigned as his prison guards. Today we see the process Paul and the men go through as they finally reach their intended destination, as well as how Paul would end up reaching his - Rome. 

One thing we learn in storms - the list of priorities shortens
It is always amazing to me how many things we consider to be priority in our lives. When a storm comes, not only do those priorities change, the list greatly shortens. On the ship the sailors' fear escalated. The priority of attempting to retain any cargo was quickly replaced by just trying to remain alive! Notice how much these guys let go as the storm rages on:

-They begin to jettison the cargo 27:18
-Then they cast off the ship's tackle 27:19
-Cast away the anchors 27:29
-They cut away the ropes holding the life boat to the side of the ship 27:32
-They threw the remaining wheat or source of food into the sea 27:38
-They completely got rid of the anchors 27:40
-They ran the ship aground 27:41

In normal circumstances, every single action done by these men would had been considered insanity. However the times in which they found themselves were anything but  "normal".

Perhaps you have been in a major storm of life or may very well be in the middle of one, much like Paul and his fellow prisoners. Though we may not know exactly why God had Paul and these men go through this storm, one thing is for sure - their priorities were sharpened significantly. 

Whatever purpose God has for storms, we know He may be preparing us for whatever purpose there is following the storm
Acts 27:44 states: "and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land." Though the journey had been anything but safe, God's word was fulfilled and every single man made it. As always, we know that survival may never be guaranteed when going through a storm, yet we know that whatever purpose God has for us going through the storm, it prepares us for a purpose that He will have us doing after the storm. 

The sailors, soldiers and Paul reached their intended destination - land! Once landing in Malta, Paul would be used of God to heal a man and model a miracle before the natives. In Acts 28:11-31 we would see Paul reach his ultimate destination - Rome. God had tested Paul under extreme situations to birth forth in him a testimony.  Testimonies are God's ordained exclamation points in the life of faith! Whenever you see a exclamation point (!), your attention is seized. Why? Exclamation points draw attention! God is the focus of the person with a testimony that bears witness of His faithfulness through a stormy season. Remember, God is over the storms of life and meets His people in them! 

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