Daily Thought - "lessons From A Northeaster; As We Wait For Sandy"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale. – Acts 27: 13-15 (NLT)

    Hurricane Sandy has spent the better part of the past week threatening the East Coast of the United States. Slowly heading up the coast now it is scheduled to head westward suddenly and take aim directly at the tri-state area, in which I reside. Downgraded to a tropical storm, this massive system will actually merge with another system as it heads towards the coast and become what is known as a “northeaster.” When searching for a key verse tonight to write about the Lord, I was led to another northeaster, thousands of years ago in the Book of Acts, also occurring in late October. Let’s see what lessons the Lord has for us today…

    The Apostle Paul is a prisoner of the Roman Empire. Having appealed to Caesar, Paul finds himself on a ship, which is supposed to head back to Rome. This journey begins in the 27th chapter of Acts, in the year 59 AD. Here was what they encountered:

    Putting out to sea from there, we encountered strong headwinds that made it difficult to keep the ship on course, so we sailed north of Cyprus between the island and the mainland. – Acts 27: 4 (NLT)

    We had several days of slow sailing, and after great difficulty we finally neared Cnidus. But the wind was against us, so we sailed across to Crete and along the sheltered coast of the island, past the cape of Salmone. We struggled along the coast with great difficulty and finally arrived at Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall,and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it. – Acts 27: 7-9 (NLT)

    Encountered strong headwinds, difficult to keep the ship on course, slow sailing, great difficulty, wind was against us, struggled along the coast, dangerous for sea travel. I think the first lesson God is trying to show us today is that we need to pay better attention to the signs that are around us. Not everything is simply a chance event. When you see one “act of God” that might be an anomaly but when you continue to persist and you continue to see resistance, even from something like the weather, you may want to pause and consider your plan. Remember, God created this planet and controls everything on it. The danger we run into sometimes as Christians is we assign a worldly rationale to anything that might be negative and assign a spiritual rationale to anything that might be positive. Think about that for a second and realize the inherent danger. Not everything positive has a spiritual rationale no matter how much we want to believe God is approving of everything we do. More importantly, not everything negative should be explained away without considering a spiritual reason. Without considering if God is trying to say something. The storm sometimes contains a message but we must be willing to listen.

    Moving on, we see that Paul recommends that they pay attention to the signs and stay put. He warns the specifically of what they stood to lose. Their ship, their cargo, and possibly their lives. This brings us to our key verses for today. We see the sailors took the break in the winds as a positive sign, which as we just discussed can be very dangerous - they thought they could make it. How often in life do we move ahead under our own logic, drawing our own conclusions? How often do we think we can make it to? These were experienced sailors. They knew what they were doing from a worldly point of view. They were experts at sailing and reading the weather. We too can get ahead of God in the areas of our lives that we think we have it all together in. In the areas we fancy ourselves experts in. God does not consider our wisdom anything to behold:

    Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthywhen God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. – 1Corinthians 1: 26-29 (NLT)

    The Bible says to lean not unto our own understanding but in ALL of our ways acknowledge the Lord. That means in everything we do, we should be considering God first. He will make our paths straight before us. Because as we see next in the key verses, you just never know when things are going to take a turn for the worse – even amidst our great wisdom. The weather changed abruptly. So too in our lives can we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a storm that we did not anticipate nor see coming. The ship finds itself in a typhoon; a northeaster that threatened all of their lives as we come to the last lesson for today.
    We see that they tried to turn the ship into the wind. They tried to fight against the poor judgment they had made. Inevitably however, they could not and they were forced to let the ship run before the gale. What does this mean for us today? It means that when we insist on having it our way, we sometimes will find ourselves out of control. It means that when we refuse to check in with God and instead rely upon our own worldly wisdom, the results sometimes wind up beyond our control. There is a principle in this life of reaping and sowing. Yes God can help us and deliver us but often times we will pay the price associated with our own arrogance. For these men they lost their ship and their cargo. They ended up shipwrecked, which was exactly what Paul had warned them about. In fact, it is only specifically because they were carrying Paul to where God wanted him to go, that God also spared their lives when He spared Paul. God spared 276 men that day in His infinite mercy but there was a price paid nonetheless.

    So as we hunker down tonight and start to wait out the northeaster of 2012, let us pause for a moment and think of the northeaster of 59, and what God is saying today. First that we need to pay better attention to the signs that are all around us. There is a spiritual world that we are woefully ignorant of sometimes. Secondly that we discipline ourselves to consider God in everything that we do. I often write that God does not want to just be the God of our problems – He wants to be the God of our decisions. If we ever could learn to defer our decisions to God, we wouldn’t find ourselves in so many problems! Lastly, that there is a price to be paid when we refuse to include God. Yes, in the end He may rescue us through His immeasurable mercy, but there is always a price to be paid.

    May God keep you all safe…

    Rev. Anthony

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