No doubt, this past year has had its share of challenges, problems, and disasters; but in the midst of all these things, God remains faithful.
So often as we approach a New Year, we tend to judge or even base our outlook for the coming year on our past experiences. For example, if the year before was trying, or testing, we envision that the next year will be the same. But the year ahead does not have to be the same as the previous one. God expects us to always have a “glorious, confident expectation of good.” No matter what appears on the horizon, what storms you have gone through He is there; the outcome will be for your good.
Paul the Apostle of Grace was on a journey and on this journey he encountered a big storm, but let us note the end result. This story we will look at is only one out of three shipwrecks Paul encountered in his ministry. What lessons can we learn from this experience?
The story is found in Acts 27.
(1) And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius.
(2) And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.
(3) And the next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.
(4) And from there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary.
(5) And when we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.
- whether we want to or not, we have to be prepared to start the journey
- decide now that you are going through 2017 come what may
- always remember that there will be various stops along the way, but each one is leading to your destination.
- Who you allow in your circle is also key
- God will allow those in your life who will be of valuable assistance to you on the journey.
- Contrary winds [ trials, testings, conflicts, pressure] may arise, but God is with you.
(6) And there the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.
(7) And when we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone;
(8) and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a certain place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.
- Be careful about whom you will allow to speak into your life
- Don’t allow others to formulate what your outcome should be, God must direct the course of action you need to take.
- Even though you may shift from the desired course at some point, remember God will maneuver your life back into your desire course as long as you are trusting Him.
- Always remember that your outcome is good – He leads you to Fair Havens[Good Harbors; Safe Place; an honest outcome].
9) And when considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them,
(10) and said to them, “Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be attended with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
(11) But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship, than by what was being said by Paul.
(12) And because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
- Sometimes a considerable among of time may past between when you first embarked on your mission, and the next move.
- It does not matter what uncertainty arises as you prepare to make the next move, rest assured God has your back
- Speak words of encouragement, encourage yourself and others.
- Keep your praise and worship focus, meditate, pray, fast. Keep your God focus.
- dont let what was damaged or lost in the last season, deter you from setting out into your new season.
- Keep your ears open; listen to your shepherds, and the ones God has places in your life to release the “spirit of prophesy.” Prophesy to your spirit.
- Declare boldly the next move.
- DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE IN YOUR SPACE WHO DOES NOT HAVE ” EYES OF THE SPIRIT” TO SEE INTO THE SPIRIT WORLD.
- Keep away from negative people this coming year, avoid all the detractors.
- Watch for those who try to creep into your space bringing “religious talk, it may sound great but has nothing to add to your present situation. AVOID IT AT ALL COST.
13) And when a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had gained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.
(14) But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo;
(15) and when the ship was caught in it, and could not face the wind, we gave way to it, and let ourselves be driven along.
(16) And running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda we were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat under control.
(17) And after they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis; they let down the sea anchor, and so let themselves be driven along.
- Test the spirits. Not every spirit is a God spirit. Some are just “contrary winds” sent to buffet your purpose.
- Unless God has directed the course, you may find yourself against some very serious stuff.
- Failure to stay the course with God can lead to some catastrophic situations, and your efforts to right the wrongs can only lead to greater problems.
- So wait on God and He will set things straight sooner than later.
(18) The next day as we were being violently storm tossed, they began to jettison the cargo;
(19) and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.
(20) And since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.
- Don’t jump ship, God has your life in His hand
- Don’t throw away all hope,
- Don’t throw up your hands in total despair
- Don’t look at the Dow Jones, the Stock Market report, the latest from the Financial Analyst, the Doctor’s Report, the Tarot Card, the obeah man or woman [wizardry or witchcraft], don’ search your horoscope.
- take your eyes off the impending storm look to Jesus
(21) And when they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, “Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete, and incurred this damage and loss.
(22) “And yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
(23) “For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,
(24) saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’
(25) “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.
(26) “But we must run aground on a certain island.”
- No matter how bleak things may seem, remember Jesus is Lord
- He will send His angels right in the midst of your storms to bring you and encouraging word. Hold tight.
- Do not be afraid, this is going to turn out all right, a few distractions yes, but the end will be all good.
- God will cause you to “run aground on a certain Island” [ enclosed; sheltered; fruitful; comfort; a place of rest.
Many times when we are in a storm we feel that we are all alone. We think that because we went against the will of God that He is not watching over us. This is simply not true. God is always waiting for us to reach out to Him, and pray. When God answers our prayer, it is usually not in a way that we expect. Because we are usually in the storm due to our disobedience, God can allow it but we must learn the lesson from it. The important thing is that we learn the lesson, and obey. Sometimes we lose everything except our lives. That is not necessarily a bad thing. When you have nothing, you have to depend on God. God wants us to depend on Him, even when you have everything.
I do not know where your mind and thoughts are, but rest assured that God will see you through in 2017. Stay focused.