God often warns me of a storm through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my heart. It’s up to me what I do with the leadings of the Spirit.
Saturday, August 28, 2021
By John Woolley, Journey Small Group Leader
“By now we had lost a lot of time. We had passed the autumn equinox, so it would be stormy weather from now on through the winter, too dangerous for sailing. Paul warned, ‘I see only disaster ahead for our lives if we put out to sea now.’ The centurion set Paul’s warning aside and let the ship captain and the shipowner talk him into trying for the next harbor….When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing…The next day, out on the high seas again and badly damaged now by the storm, the cargo was dumped overboard. The third day the sailors lightened the ship further by throwing off all the tackle and provisions. It had been many days since we had seen either sun or stars. Wind and waves were battering us unmercifully, and we lost all hope of rescue. With our appetite for both food and life long gone, Paul took his place in our midst and said, “Friends, you really should have listened to me back in Crete. We could have avoided all this trouble and trial. But there’s no need to dwell on that now. From now on, things are looking up! I can assure you that there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship—the ship itself is doomed. Last night God’s angel stood at my side, an angel of this God I serve, saying to me, ‘Don’t give up, Paul. You’re going to make it—and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it.’ So, dear friends, take heart.” — Acts 27:9-10, 12-13, 18-26
How often I find myself in the midst of a storm because I simply chose not to listen and obey God. Or in a storm that others chose for me based on their decisions. In Acts 27, I see Paul under guarded escort by a Roman Centurion named Julius. Having already been on a boat for part of the journey, they are faced with a decision to keep going and risk a storm, or to stay in port where it was safe. Paul, being led by an Angel, warned that continuing would lead to certain disaster, while the Centurion trusted the captain of the boat and decided to keep going, risking a storm. We have two people in this story affected by the same storm. Paul and the Centurion. Both moved out into a storm. One by choice. The other by the choice of another’s decision. (vs 11) “The centurion set Paul’s warning aside and let the ship captain and the shipowner talk him into trying for the next harbor.” The storm could have been avoided simply by staying in the harbor. How often do I find myself affected by life’s struggles simply because I didn’t listen to God’s voice or follow His guidance? In the same way, how often do I find myself in difficulties because of other’s choices to act in a way that significantly affected me.
In life, God often warns me of a storm through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my heart. It’s up to me what I do with the leadings of the Spirit. Oftentimes I find myself in life-storms because of the bad choices I make. Or by the choices of another. Regardless of how I get there, God is always ready to lead me out. If I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that no storm is too great for God’s love and protection. He never promises storms will be easy. Oftentimes he doesn’t quiet them immediately. But He does promise to walk through every storm with me and encourages me to “take heart” and to “never give up”. I never need to be afraid (v 24). Jesus is Lord of every storm. (Psalm 107: 28-29, Deuteronomy 31:8). I can put my trust fully in him when life seems to be struggling out of control. And in every leading He gives me through the Holy Spirit and through other’s wise Godly counsel.
“Father…Thank you that I am your child. And thank you that you are so good and you never leave my side. Your way is the only way I want to go. Your way is always perfect. Help me discern your leadings in life. And to have faith and courage to always follow you. I am thankful that you can calm every storm simply by speaking to it. But I pray that I have a heart to be obedient to you to avoid the storms you warn me about. If I should find myself in the middle of a struggle, I pray that you give me the strength and courage to weather it, trusting that you are always with me and will lead me out of it. Deepen my faith in you through every one of life’s storms. Amen.”
Now You Try
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. Take time to read and allow God to speak to you. Write down the one or two verses that stick out. Even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make a basic observation about the scripture you just read. What stood out? Was something repeated? What is the author trying to communicate? What does the Scripture passage teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
Ask, “What does this verse(s) mean for my life?” How might this verse affect your heart — how you feel? How does this verse challenge your thinking? How does it affect your will, asking, “What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?”
Write out a prayer to God. Scripture is God speaking to you, take this moment to speak back. Take a moment to say, “Thank you,” confess to Him what needs to change, or ask for something that is on your heart.