Thursday, October 25, 2018
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If they ever ask me to be a participant in those Nielsen ratings of who's watching what TV show, they'll probably find me watching the Weather Channel more than a lot of viewers. Oh, not necessarily because I'm intrigued with low-pressure systems, or barometric readings, or cumulonimbus clouds, (See, I do watch.) but because I want to see my future in the places I might be traveling to. But sometimes, they don't have the weather on. I remember a while back they had a primetime documentary show called "Storm Stories." Now while the story of a storm that happened twenty years ago isn't going to help me plan for tomorrow, the stories were pretty dramatic. They often featured amazing accounts of the people who survived major weather disasters-and the people who didn't. It was especially interesting to see what steps would help you to be a storm survivor rather than a storm victim.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Storm Proof Security."
I'll bet you've got your own personal "storm stories," don't you? I've got mine-some life storms that you've been hit with; medical storms, financial storms, family, marital, heavy weather with your kids, your work, your ministry, your relationships. One of the most dramatic storm stories I ever read is actually in our word for today from the Word of God in Acts 27, beginning with verse 20. It's going to help you survive your storm-because it shows the two anchors you can hang onto and no storm can touch.
Paul is a Roman prisoner. He's being carried to Rome aboard a ship loaded with Caesar's grain, and they get hit with this massive storm that drives them all over the Mediterranean for two perilous weeks. Paul says, "We took such a violent battering...they began to throw the cargo overboard." That's pretty desperate. Then the apostle goes on to explain that "neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging." Have you ever been in a situation like that where none of your usual points of reference could help you and you're drifting and you're confused? That's what we're talking about here.
Then it says, "we finally gave up all hope of being saved." (Acts 27:18, 20) Notice, he says "we" gave up all hope. Even the spirit of the great Apostle Paul has succumbed to the storm. But then the next day we find him standing up and saying to everyone aboard, "Keep up your courage because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed." What happened? Well, God reminded Paul of those two anchors that will carry you through. He explains to the people on that storm-threatened ship: "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'" (Acts 27:22-25)
Anchor #1: Who you belong to. The God "whose I am." Don't let the storm make you forget that the Lord is your God and that His sovereignty is unshakeable. No life that is in the hands of the Sovereign Lord is out of control no matter how much it feels like the storm is winning. If you are His child, then every storm in your life has either been sent by Him or approved by Him for His glory, for your good and for your growth.
Anchor #2: Who you do it for. The God "whom I serve." The storm can blow away every reason for finishing the thing that God gave you to do except one-the One who called you to do it. He hasn't moved, no matter how much the ship is getting blown around. God told Paul, "The mission I've given you, you will complete." I think He's saying the same thing to you. Hang onto your anchors and no storm, however violent, is going to sink you!
About the ending of the storm story: The ship that was supposed to be headed from Israel to Italy...the ship that had been seemingly out of control for two weeks ended up going aground on the island just south of Italy. All the time Paul's ship had appeared to be out of control, but guess what? It had been right on course, and so is yours because of the God "whose you are and whom you serve."