Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9- Forecast: Gentle Winds, Then Hurricane

July 9, 2011

Scripture Readings:
1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40; Acts 27:1-20;
Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 18:22

God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon.  He left the electricity still in the cloud, the oil still in the earth. How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource!
 We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go.  
And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.  
~George MacDonald

1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40

Let me take a moment to commend you on reading halfway through the Bible this year! It is with persistence and dedication that you have come this far.  Meeting with God every day to read and absorb His Story is a good thing.  I hope you feel that you are learning more about Him and loving Him more deeply.  This is an incredible book.  It's the greatest book ever written, and you are experiencing it's life- giving words.  Good for you!

Today, we have another portion of Ezra's genealogy.  We complete the genealogy of the tribe of Benjamin.  That's all I have to say on that.  On to the book of Acts...

Acts 27:1-20

For years, my family has been vacationing at South Seas Plantation in Captiva Island, Florida.  The beauty of this small island has been a balm to my soul.  The magnificent palm trees, pristine beaches, abundant wildlife, and ever present mangrove trees highlight my memories of vacations past.  In 2004, Hurricane Charlie slammed into Captiva Island with a direct hit.  With winds peaking at 150 miles per hour, the island was destroyed.  Prior to the storm, a canopy of mangrove trees provided shade and a regal entrance onto the resort at South Seas.  The trees also provided homes and shelter for the wildlife I so love. After the storm, all of the trees were decimated.  Our lovely tropical paradise was maimed.  The property damage from this storm across the state of Florida was approximately $15 billion.  I am happy to report that after seven years, Captiva Island is on the mend.  The trees are growing back, the animals are sharing the land and God's restoration of devastation is evident.  After witnessing the incredible destruction of one of these storms, I am loathe to ever be in the eye of a hurricane. Today because they will not listen to Paul's godly advice, the Apostle Paul, his companions, and the stubborn sailors who are guiding their ship head into a hurricane.

Paul and his companions are heading out to Rome so that Paul's case can be heard before Caesar.  Like all people who begin on a journey, they have no idea what lies ahead.  As they begin, Paul is placed as a prisoner on the ship in the care of a Roman army officer named Julius.  He is kind to Paul and at their first stop Julius allows Paul to go visit with friends on shore and receive provisions for his journey.

It is interesting to note that before the day of  credit cards a person who travelled had to rely on the hospitality of others for food and shelter.  One can see why the Bible strongly emphasizes the importance of hospitality. As a prisoner, Paul really had to rely on others to be able to afford traveling.  Things are going well at this point.  His guard is being kind and his friends are providing for his needs. Aren't our lives like this?  For the most part, we are sailing along with no complications.

The next day headwinds begin to blow. This is a wind that blows against a traveling object causing the object to slow down.  It increases the time required to reach a destination.  As Paul and his traveling companions sail on, they struggle along the coast with great difficulty.  They finally land at a place called Fair Havens.  LOL.  Don't you just love God?  Is it really a coincidence that in Paul's struggles he lands at Fair Havens?  It is at this point in the journey that Paul knowing that there are bad storms in early Fall informs the centurion that their voyage is going to be disastrous and include the loss of cargo, the ship, and even their lives.  The centurion does not follow Paul's advice, but listens only to the pilot and owner of the ship.

As they sail on, they appear to have found gentle winds.  Following those winds, they drop their anchor and sail along the shores of Crete.  Almost immediately, a hurricane sweeps down from the island battering the ship and threatening to break the ship apart.  As predicted by Paul, the sailors have no choice but to throw the cargo overboard, release the lifeboat, and secure the ship's hull with ropes.  In the midst of the storm, darkness prevails and the sun, moon and stars are blotted out.  Finally, they have lost all hope.

What can we learn from this story?  We can learn how to detect future storms and stay in safe havens. Here are some tips:
  • Learn to identify headwinds and react to headwinds before they become hurricanes in your life.
  • Identify seasons in your life when problems can occur. The Apostle Paul realized that hurricanes come in early Fall.
  • Don't try to sail through a storm on your own strength.
  • Listen to godly counsel.
  • Act upon godly counsel, rather than ignoring it.
  • Stay in Fair Havens, rather than jumping into the storm.
Let me give some examples.

1) If you are experiencing things in life that are slowing down your progress towards a goal, make sure that the headwinds are not warnings of bigger problems ahead.  Have the humility to read the winds as a possible sign that you need to slow down and consult God.  Be willing to listen to your circumstances.  Are doors slamming in your face?  Why not begin to look for open windows, rather than breaking down a closed door?

2) Analyze what season of life you are in at this time. There are certain times where we must be cautious. 

3) During these times it is important to receive godly counsel.  Counsel can be found in Scripture, through godly friends, or even through Christian counseling.  Maybe a great Christian radio show can help during these times.  Do not try to face these headwinds in your own strength before they become storms.

4) Once you receive godly counsel, ACT UPON IT.  Do not turn a deaf ear to good counsel.  This will help you prevent major storms in life.

5) God is our Fair Haven.  Turn to God as you see the headwinds before you.  Trust in His principles for living.  This can prevent heading into a hurricane.   Trusting God and following these principles will prevent life becoming a hurricane where you lose all hope.

Do you follow these principles in your life?  Can you identify headwinds in your life?  They are more subtle. Do you listen to good advice, or plow ahead in your own strength?

Psalm 7: 1-17

David is singing about the tribe of Benjamin.  We just studied their genealogy today.  That is pretty cool.  This tribe gave David all sorts of trouble through Saul.

Proverbs 18:22

Wives are a treasure to men.  Do you realize that?

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton