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Rough Seas Ahead

Rough Seas Ahead

Rough Seas Ahead
Words of Faith 8-15-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 27

[9] Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, [10] "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." [11] But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. [12] Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

[13] When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. [14] Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. [15] The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. [16] As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. [17] When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. [18] We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. [19] On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. [20] When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

The ship was headed for trouble and Paul could see it coming! Paul was not a sailor but he had spent a great deal of time on the sea. The area they were sailing was notorious for storms in the winter. Navigation in this part of the Mediterranean was considered dangerous after mid-September and impossible after November 11! Paul warned that disaster would befall them if they tried to go further.

But the ship owner and pilot had different ideas. They wanted to move ahead probably for financial reasons. The ship had lost valuable time since leaving Myra. There was no hope of reaching Italy before winter, yet they wanted to press on and try to make it to Phoenix a little further up the coast.

A gentle wind from the south reassured the sojourners only briefly before they found themselves caught in a ferocious storm and before long they were fighting for their lives! In the battering of the storm, the crew did everything they could to save the ship. They dragged the anchors, tied down all necessities, reinforced the ship with ropes, and threw the cargo and even the yardarm overboard! Caught in the raging storm they finally gave up all hope of being saved!

There is a powerful message here. Don’t push it. Don’t run ahead. In the secular world, one would say, “Don’t press you luck.” Even experts sometimes get greedy or blinded by ambition. Sailors and explorers have a history of pressing into disaster in the hope of victory. There are so many examples.

In 1991, the crew of the Andrea Gail pressed on into a storm hoping to get a catch of fish home to market. The story of the disaster was made into a major motion picture called “The Perfect Storm”.

On January 28, 1986, NASA determined to launch the space shuttle Challenger in spite of dangerously low temperatures the night before. The reasons were complicated and subject to massive inquiries, but no one disagrees that the results were disastrous.

There are smaller storms as well. One is sometimes tempted to abandon a solid job for a risky but potentially lucrative endeavor. A new ministry opportunity beckons to our hearts but it has no track record and little support. How do we make such decisions?

This decision was out of Paul’s hands, but in the arena of faith, the message is “Don’t rush God.” We sometimes do that. We press too hard. We attempt too much. We run ahead of God. We fail to realize that there is a season for sailing and there is a season for rest. There is a season for pressing ahead and there is a season for waiting and listening. How do we know the difference? Some of it is common sense but the key is that we must listen to the Lord, what He says and what he does not say.

How did Paul know that disaster was ahead and that the wise decision was to winter in Fair Havens? It was not that God told him of the disaster but that God had not prodded him to move forward! Paul had learned to wait upon the Lord. He had just spent two years in prison in Caesarea waiting on the timing of the Lord. Paul knew that if God wanted him to get to Rome, he would get there if not in winter then by spring. Paul knew that to press ahead without direction to do so from God was to court disaster.

We may ask, “But what about faith? Don’t you trust God?” Faith is not recklessness without direction from the Lord. Faith is trusting in what God has said or directed.

Does this mean we take no risks? Certainly not. When the Lord leads us to do so, then we step out of the boat onto water with no means of support at all! The world would call that very risky but it is, in fact, the most solid place to be! Without the call of God to move ahead, it is foolishness to sail into stormy seas for the sake of either monetary gain or “Kingdom” ambitions. At the bottom line, we must carefully weigh our motives. Is this endeavor really “faith” as I claim, or is it the ambition of my flesh?

Lord, teach me to listen carefully for Your call. Tune my spirit that I may hear the timing You have designed. Let me run neither ahead nor behind the plan You have. May I walk with complete abandon when You call, but wait in patience when You are silent. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.