ACTS – The Acts of God
Truth. We had only five dollars left in the bank account after paying our tithes…were we at the end of our financial health? No, we were rescued with unexpected money to help us through the coming days until the next payday.
A few days after our second son was born, I hemorrhaged and almost bled to death but I was rescued by my sister-in-law, a great surgical nurse who saved me.
Years later, Randy almost died from a fungal disease that we had never heard of before coming to Ohio from our native Oklahoma, but he was finally rescued by a top doctor in her field of study who came in with the right diagnosis and medications to save his life.
Because of those harsh medications, it hurt his heart and kidneys which caused a near heart attack later while in ministry in Indiana but he was saved again before more damage was done.
We were cut off at the knees by a pastor who could not tell the truth. This broke our hearts and caused us doubt our very being, but God, once again, came to the rescue with hope, restored joy of His salvation and healing.
These are but a few times that God has intervened in our lives. Through it all, an enormous amount of prayer, of crying out to God for help were said by us and others on our behalf. God answered and gave us peace that HE was in control through it all. His voice spoke to our hearts through His Holy Spirit in those times of distress with peace and resolve that He was in control and would provide. I testify to His greatness today and always. We would not be here today without God’s rescues.
I imagine, if you reflected on your own lives, you could think of the “shipwrecks” on your own journeys and look back at how God acted with a rescue as only HE could do. Praise Him. Praise Him loudly and praise him without ceasing. To God be the glory for all the great things He has done (is doing and will do)!
Take heart. He is not finished with us, yet. Paul, led by God’s Holy Spirit, spoke over the crew with God’s plan of rescue. Read the whole story slowly and deliberately and watch how God works in every detail. Then praise Him again! We would not be where we are today without this rescue! God works in all the details. God says in His Word that he even delights in the details of our lives!
Take heart. He is working on a rescue for you today…even before you know you need it. (Smiling.)
Acts 27, The Message
A Storm at Sea
27 1-2 As soon as arrangements were complete for our sailing to Italy, Paul and a few other prisoners were placed under the supervision of a centurion named Julius, a member of an elite guard. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium that was bound for Ephesus and ports west. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, went with us.
3 The next day we put in at Sidon. Julius treated Paul most decently—let him get off the ship and enjoy the hospitality of his friends there.
4-8 Out to sea again, we sailed north under the protection of the northeast shore of Cyprus because winds out of the west were against us, and then along the coast westward to the port of Myra. There the centurion found an Egyptian ship headed for Italy and transferred us on board. We ran into bad weather and found it impossible to stay on course. After much difficulty, we finally made it to the southern coast of the island of Crete and docked at Good Harbor (appropriate name!).
9-10 By this time we had lost a lot of time. We had passed the autumn equinox, so it would be stormy weather from now on through the winter, too dangerous for sailing. Paul warned, “I see only disaster ahead for cargo and ship—to say nothing of our lives!—if we put out to sea now.”
12,11 But it was not the best harbor for staying the winter. Phoenix, a few miles further on, was more suitable. The centurion set Paul’s warning aside and let the ship captain and the shipowner talk him into trying for the next harbor.
13-15 When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck. They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm.
16-17 We came under the lee of the small island named Clauda, and managed to get a lifeboat ready and reef the sails. But rocky shoals prevented us from getting close. We only managed to avoid them by throwing out drift anchors.
18-20 Next day, out on the high seas again and badly damaged now by the storm, we dumped the cargo overboard. The third day the sailors lightened the ship further by throwing off all the tackle and provisions. It had been many days since we had seen either sun or stars. Wind and waves were battering us unmercifully, and we lost all hope of rescue.
21-22 With our appetite for both food and life long gone, Paul took his place in our midst and said, “Friends, you really should have listened to me back in Crete. We could have avoided all this trouble and trial. But there’s no need to dwell on that now. From now on, things are looking up! I can assure you that there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship—the ship itself is doomed.
23-26 “Last night God’s angel stood at my side, an angel of this God I serve, saying to me, ‘Don’t give up, Paul. You’re going to stand before Caesar yet—and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it.’ So, dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what he told me. But we’re going to shipwreck on some island or other.”
27-29 On the fourteenth night, adrift somewhere on the Adriatic Sea, at about midnight the sailors sensed that we were approaching land. Sounding, they measured a depth of 120 feet, and shortly after that ninety feet. Afraid that we were about to run aground, they threw out four anchors and prayed for daylight.
30-32 Some of the sailors tried to jump ship. They let down the lifeboat, pretending they were going to set out more anchors from the bow. Paul saw through their guise and told the centurion and his soldiers, “If these sailors don’t stay with the ship, we’re all going down.” So the soldiers cut the lines to the lifeboat and let it drift off.
33-34 With dawn about to break, Paul called everyone together and proposed breakfast: “This is the fourteenth day we’ve gone without food. None of us has felt like eating! But I urge you to eat something now. You’ll need strength for the rescue ahead. You’re going to come out of this without even a scratch!”
35-38 He broke the bread, gave thanks to God, passed it around, and they all ate heartily—276 of us, all told! With the meal finished and everyone full, the ship was further lightened by dumping the grain overboard.
39-41 At daybreak, no one recognized the land—but then they did notice a bay with a nice beach. They decided to try to run the ship up on the beach. They cut the anchors, loosed the tiller, raised the sail, and ran before the wind toward the beach. But we didn’t make it. Still far from shore, we hit a reef and the ship began to break up.
42-44 The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so none could escape by swimming, but the centurion, determined to save Paul, stopped them. He gave orders for anyone who could swim to dive in and go for it, and for the rest to grab a plank. Everyone made it to shore safely.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your daily rescues, large and small. Thank you for loving us so much you died for us and rose again to save us, the greatest rescue of all!
In Jesus Name, Amen I believe.