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Time to Eat!

Time to Eat!
Words of Faith 8-18-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 27
[33] Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food--you haven't eaten anything. [34] Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head." [35] After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. [36] They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. [37] Altogether there were 276 of us on board. [38] When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

Eat? At a time like this? Yes, eat. The crew and passengers had not eaten anything in two weeks! The storm had been so fierce that preparing food had been impossible. Seasickness would have been a problem as well. The constant suspense of the near-death voyage had also kept them from eating.
Paul knew that everyone aboard would need all the strength they could muster for what was ahead. Now was a time to eat. Paul took some bread, gave thanks to God, and ate it as the others on board also ate. Strengthened by the food, they threw the cargo of grain overboard to give the ship a shallower draft as they beached the vessel.
This may seem to us a simple act but it is significant in several ways.
Stopping to eat was an act of hope. It was a preparation for the future. It signaled to all that they indeed were going to survive this ordeal.
Eating also provided a moment of public testimony as Paul gave thanks to God. Here, in the middle of this harrowing ordeal at sea, Paul stopped to give thanks to God. That can be hard. We often will make petition before God in times of danger. We often will plead with God during a crises but we seldom stop to give thanks. Paul did.
The point is not just that Paul could give thanks in all circumstances. Paul was also giving thanks in advance, by faith, for what he already knew was coming to pass by the hand of God, the deliverance of this entire group of people from the threat of a watery grave.
There is one last point here. The passengers and crew needed to eat when they could because there would likely not be a barbecue waiting for them on the beach. Things may have seemed tough on the ship but they were about to get worse and it was time to eat. There were difficult and tough times ahead. This is the point we most often miss in our walk with God.
In our faith journey, it is very easy for us to waste the times of preparation that God provides for us. In our journey there are times of relative ease in which the Lord would have us eat from His Word and prepare for what is ahead but it is often the case that we ignore God in such times.
We often find that when the crisis is upon us and the ship is about to be beached we have nothing stored up. We have little spiritual strength for the toughest ordeal. Here is the cue from Paul: Eat when you have opportunity to eat. Dine upon the things of God in preparation. We really do not know what is ahead.
So how is your diet? People think a lot about physical diets these days. Billions of dollars are spent on diet plans and gym memberships. But what about your spiritual diet?
Are you dining on the Word? Are you spending time with the Lord? Are you taking advantage of worship and study? Are you soaking deeply in the daily bread that will prepare you for what is ahead? Are you already in a difficult time? Paul’s experience teaches us that even in the time of near crises it is not too late to eat.

Lord, I want to eat. I want to take in the nourishment of Your Word. I want to absorb the life giving nutrition of Your Spirit. Build me and strengthen me for both the joys and the difficulties that are ahead. 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.