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Monday, September 10, 2007

When The Storm Is At Its Worst Paul Communes With God

In Acts Chapter 27, in the New Testament, we read of a Mediterranean adventure where real danger threatens the lives of all 276 people aboard this grain ship. The soft wind worsened and a storm arose and all the sailors could do was let the ship go.

They let it be driven along, having rejected the sound wise advice given by Paul, the man of God. Rejecting the advice which God gives through His servants can mean people are just driven along - even in a direction in which they do not want to go. Soon it is a tempest. The timbers were beginning to spring open, and to prevent the ship from breaking up, they passed ropes underneath the ship, to tie the ship together. This was the normal practice in such situations. See how accurate Scripture is.

You can read of this and examine pictures of these ships in various books.

The next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. They must have been really terrified to go this far. What would the owner say? All that so very precious grain was now lost, because they had not obeyed Paul, the servant of God.

And the following day - all the spare equipment went overboard.

No matter what men did the situation does not improve, and all hope is lost, and despair is setting in. Sometimes, men have to reach this point before they will listen to the man of God.

While the crew and soldiers were rushing around in a hive of terrified activity, something else was happening aboard that ship. Paul had been communing with God. While the storm was at its height - its worst - its fiercest. Is there not a lesson there? Paul had been praying and fasting - and the consequences of that significant communion are revealed. No life is lost.

There are important spiritual lessons to be gleaned from this passage. At first reading it may appear to be just a sea story, in which a severe storm arises. But one man is praying and fellowshipping with God and He knows that the living God wants him to arrive in Rome, and He knows that God will get him there. Paul has that confidence and assurance that God will bring him through the storm and out of the storm.

As you read this is someone going through a storm? Is your situation bleak? Are the waves pounding upon you and almost drowning your faith? Has everyone rejected your witness, your ministry, your testimony, turning their back on your advice?

You are not the first man to have experienced that. Commune with God. Trust Him to see you through these trying times. Read Acts 27 again and see how one of God's finest men was treated, remembering that he has just spent two years imprisoned unfairly in Caesarea. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ can involve us in facing injustice and just as He did. Jesus overcame and triumphed and He is looking to see you emerge victorious.

Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.

His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.

Sandy Shaw


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