Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In The Storm

For the past few weeks we have found ourselves in the mist of many storms. It seems we all have been covered by the same cloud of this storm. I have taught out of Acts 26 lately and then moved to Acts 27 a day or so ago and then again last night.
As reading through this account I found myself as many of us have this year, right in the middle of some place we really didn’t want to be but none the less we were there. Sailing was going good for Paul the first couple of trips under the guard of Julius.

While sailing was good, life was good but then they ran into bad weather and the Bible says "they found it impossible to stay on course. After much difficulty we finally made it and docked at Good Harbor. It seems even when we’re not on the course that God really wants us on; it’s still His course. Remember how they set out to go the easy route, one that they had traveled many times. The next sentence is the one that will grab you. The Bible says "By this time we had lost a lot of time". The facts are, we get off course in life and it is harder to get where we’re going so we loose time. My thought is "did we learn anything by being off course?

It goes on to read that they knew it wasn’t the right time to sail as it is with some decisions we are making and will make. The season has to be just right in order to make the decisions easy and right. When we are struggling to do just the right things remember the season may not be set for smooth sailing. More times than not we have to wait on just the right conditions to set sail and make just the right decision. This requires the knowledge to know when things are in the right place. I think Paul would have been a great skier, he used his knowledge of the circumstances to dictate his decisions. He would have been the guy that said "I will drive for you today but I ain’t going to ski, it just is not the right time". Paul knew it wasn’t the right season for all this to take place but he stood back and didn’t say a word. If all of this is sounding like your life as of late it gets better.

Then later we see "Paul warned, "I see only disaster ahead for the cargo and the ship, to say nothing of our lives. Now you got to remember who Paul is here? He is the prisoner! But he did say what he had to say and then nothing more as we see they set sail, and look it was only a short distance. Man, how many times have I said this year "well, it’s only!, it’s only this, it’s only that!

Then we see a little trick by the evil one himself, the Bible says " a gentle breeze came up". To me this is so awesome! Think about things right now that you knew what the truth was and you were fighting to make a decision, fighting to get where you wanted to go in life, asking God the whole time. Then up comes this seemly "gentle breeze, smooth sailing, sure it’s all good, look I have opened a door for you and it’s going to be smooth for you the whole way. You make a decision and say "thank you Lord. Then it happens, the Bible says "no sooner than we were out there a storm came up and control of the ship was lost. We commit, and a storm comes up and we want to quit, turn back, go the other way.

It goes on to say how they could get close to land but they couldn’t quite get there. When we strike out on our own knowing that we are moving out of season, God may allow it. He may even let us get close to where we think we should have been anyway, "having us wait, saying not the right season, a year from now, a week from now, maybe never". I have come to my own conclusions here, right or wrong it is what I have known my whole life, there is only black and white, only a and b, it’s yes or no. There is no, maybe, God is, yes or no, if we are in the "gray" working, then we are in the dark. Sounds all good on paper but try and practice this. This is near impossible to do without hurting feelings and making bad decisions. God’s seasons are real and when He says no, He, means no. When He says yes, He means, yes.

Read on and you will find that they didn’t spend a day or two in the storm but several days and tried everything possible to make it. In our own mist we have those among us that have not seen the sun or stars in many days and many weeks, maybe even many years. I have been here, not because of decisions made out of season, but because I expect the wind to be gentle sometimes and I get out there and it’s is so bad.

Here is the bottom line. "Paul took his place in the mist and said, Friends, you really should have listened to me, we could have avoided all this trouble and trails. But there is no need to dwell on that now. From now on things are looking up!

Then later. God came to Paul and said "don’t give up Paul, you are going to make it" If you think Paul was super man here, think again, he was just a person like you and me. He was just flesh, like you and me. God had to come to him and remind him in the mist of this, he was going to make it. Remember again Paul is the prisoner! You see, even when we sail out of season, or even when we don’t see the sun and stars for days and weeks. God uses us for His glory, people are still saved, lives are still changed. But the most amazing thing is we learn from these decisions we make. If we just sat in the corner and said I am waiting on God then nothing would ever get done, it’s not waiting on God, it’s walking and moving with God in a direction, right or wrong, but in a direction. You are asking "well, how do we know the direction? Match it up to the kingdom principles God has taught you so far.

Recently I was in the middle of one of these storms and a great friend told me "George, God is bound only by His word, if it says it then He will do it". This includes everything from direction, to healing, to seeing God move mountains for you. You must know His operating principles, we must know His word.

Later on in the chapter they saw "the nice bay with a nice beach" they still struggled to get there" but everyone made it safely. We will all make it. God will bring everything He has planned for us.

This is a great truth in the kingdom and there seems to be many kingdom principles in Acts 27. I have been really focused on operating inside kingdom principles, which has been one of the greatest struggles of my life. Mostly because I only know a few of these principles. It takes a great deal of time to find these as they are in the word of God. As we move forward remember this Acts 27. Remember that God does not fit in this little box we have been taught He fits in. Some of you know this already but for me it’s a great reminder. I am looking forward to seeing the stars tonight and the sun tomorrow, on a nice beach in a nice bay. Things are looking up!
George Beasley

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