This is the sixth and final post in the study, The Power of the Word. We can learn much from Paul about how to face opposition and still remain focused.
- Our God will generously supply us with wisdom. In Acts 27:1-12, we find Paul aboard a ship, encountering difficulties – strong headwinds, a ship change, slow and difficult sailing, lost time, and dangerous seas. The trip took longer than expected because the seasons began to change from late fall to winter. Paul makes a suggestion, a wise one at that, but his suggestion is not heeded. Paul was regarded as an imprisoned Jewish rabbi with no experience as a seaman (as my commentary describes him). And they were right in this. But Paul relied on the Holy Spirit for guidance and in so doing, he had wisdom from above. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (James 1:5, NLT). Our God is generous with His wisdom and He will give us wisdom generously if we but ask.
- We must speak encouragement to one another. In reading Acts 27:13-26, two things stood out to me. First, “the sailors thought they could make it”. We often think we can make it through a storm on our own or doing things our own way. May God help us to be wiser and heed His instruction when He provides it. Second, “Paul called the crew together and said”. It was Paul who spoke encouragement to the sailors. His words infused courage into the men to now do what he was instructing because God had spoken they would be safe. We can speak words of comfort and encouragement to those going through difficulties.
- We can give thanks in the midst of the storm. In Acts 27:27-44, we find our friend Paul still aboard the ship, still in the middle of the storm, and still a prisoner. Yet it is Paul who displays a sense of assessing the situation and coming up with a game plan. It was Paul who continues to speak words that infuse hope and encouragement. He is concerned for the very men who would have killed him given the opportunity. Paul encourages them to eat: “Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it. Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat” (verses 35-36, NLT). How reminiscent of Jesus at the Last Supper. The food brought encouragement and strength to a group of men who were exhausted both physically and mentally from battling the storm. Paul gave thanks in the midst of the storm. The storm raged while he was breaking the bread, giving thanks, and giving some to each of the men. The storm had not stopped nor waited for them to finish eating. I don’t know about you but this convicts me. Do I stop to give thanks in the middle of the storms in my life? Or do I wait till they have pass and then give thanks? Do I recognize and give thanks to God in the middle of the storm, remembering that He is right there with me in the midst?
- We must remain focused. In Acts 28:1-16, we find Paul continuing to do what God instructed him to do although his circumstances were not optimal. Even though our circumstances may not be what we feel they should be, it is possible to remain focused on doing what God has told us to do. None of Paul’s situations caught God off guard. Paul remained faithful to accomplish the assignment given.
We must do our part and leave the rest to God. We close the study with reading Acts 28:17-31. Paul is still sharing the gospel with those who had pressed charges, those hearing the charges, basically – to anyone who would give an ear. We can get a sense of his urgency as we are told he spoke to them from morning to night. Some were persuaded, others did not believe. We can often get frustrated and discouraged by those we share with and who do not believe. Yet Paul, with all of his knowledge, experience, and powerful speech also did not always meet with “success”. Ours is not to “save” but to share. May we be faithful to share the Good News and leave the Holy Spirit to do His work and move on hearts. Who is it in your life that still needs Jesus? Keep bringing them before God in prayer and leave Him to do the rest.
The closing verse in Acts is most interesting:
“For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.” (NLT)
This entire study we read about the many accusers who tried to stop Paul from preaching. And now? No one.
God’s Word and promises could not be chained and held back then and it will not be chained and held back in any of ours either.
Go in the power and might of the Holy Spirit
and do what He calls you to do!
Past posts in this study include Week One: Lessons From the Early Church and Week Two: Staying to Task and Week Three: Our Stories and Individuality and Week Four: Journeys, Steps, & Purposes and Week Five: In Every Situation, In Every Place, To Every Person .
Today I am joining … Inspire Me Monday .