Prayer Focus:    USA

Bible Reading:  Acts 27-28

Scripture – 

21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 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.’25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” – Acts 27: 21-26

Observation-  Acts 27 and 28 are Luke’s account of the trip to Rome that Paul took.  He was going to have an audience with Caesar, after being arrested in Jerusalem.  But travel in those days was at the best precarious, Paul is traveling with a Roman Centurian and Roman Soldiers and some other prisoners going to Rome.

After starting out on one boat, they decided that they needed a larger vessel because of the bad weather.  So they got a larger vessel in Lycia, and started out for Rome again.  As soon as they left the harbor, the rough winds and storms hit again and for many days it appeared all would be lost.

But God had set Paul apart, as Paul said in Rom 1, and had determined that Paul would testify to Caesar in Rome.

So we come to the passage above.  God sent an angel to give Paul faith and the rest of the ship hope.  The message was clear, all would be saved.. but the ship would be lost.

Application –  Ray Stedman’s commentary on Acts 27  shares that Paul was directly in the will of God.  He was preaching, witnessing and on his way to testifying in Rome.  So why did God allow Paul to have so much trouble in his travels.  Reverend Stedman points out that in having Paul and his company face the situations he did, it allowed Paul to testify about the love of Christ and the wonders of God that would provide and protect them through the worst of situations.  In Acts 28, when the ship is ran aground, they find themselves on the island of Malta, and there are more opportunities to do God’s work.

I wonder if I would be able to praise God and have as strong a faith as Paul in a similar situation.  I pray that I would.  But what about our every day problems and trials, do we use those to testify to God’s mercy and glory, or do we shake our fist at the problems and people.  Wouldn’t it be better if we could give God glory in everything we do and everything we experience.  Wouldn’t we be better witnesses and cause more to come to Jesus?

Prayer –  Lord, I’m not asking for you to ship wreck me on an island, or have a viper jump out of the fire and bite me like in Acts 28.  But help me to use every opportunity, both the good and the bad, to bring you glory and give you praise.  Helps us “…to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes 5:17-19)   Amen.