God’s Anchor Tuesday, May 16 2017 

As we begin this study of God’s Anchor I’d like you to turn in your bible to the book of Acts, which is a record of the acts of the Apostles of Christ. It is in the New Testament. It is the first book after the four gospels. Now go to the 27th chapter beginning in verse 13. We have here the story of “The Storm.”  Just as in life, the story begins where “life is a breeze”. We see here in the first verse of this story, “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity”; so far in the story things are going pretty good. If you know how the weather works on this earth, you know that a “south wind” is warm and a “gentle south wind” is even better. In order to move forward on the sea in a sailing ship you need the wind to blow. Back in the day of Paul, the people of that era did their business primarily by ship. It was their most rewarding form of transportation. So, as the story goes, “opportunity knocks.” They see their chance. And they take it. It says in the text, “So they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.” Now the word “Crete” means carnal or fleshly. You’ll notice that at first they “sailed along the shore”. This is like what our Christian life is like when we first get saved. Many times, God calls us away from our old life. Some of us, unsure of our bearings continue to hang around our old friends and continue to pursue fleshly and carnal pursuits.

But the Holy Spirit frequently sends us a reminder of our calling. As the story goes, “Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island.” Putting on our weatherman’s hat again, we know that winds from the northeast are “cold” and “harsh”.

 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.” When we are first saved it can be difficult to pull away from “the world”. Many people flail. Change can be scary.

As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along.” We may even try to hold our old life together as it is falling apart. Cauda means tail. It is when we are at the “end” of our old life that the enemy attacks the hardest because he does not want to lose us. He lies to us about our destiny. He uses fear as a weapon against us. Syrtis means quicksand. “They lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.”

“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.” He steals our hope. He seeks to kill and destroy our new life. He blinds us to the truth. You see sailors use the stars to guide their ships. But when you cannot see the stars you flail, and the storms of life keep raging on.

  “After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” The truth comes out. Paul had warned them not to sail. Do we listen to our spiritual authorities in Christ? Or do we go on about doing things the old way? The truth is that everyone dies, “only the ship will be destroyed.” But we shall be saved. This is the encouragement of the gospel.

Do we anchor ourselves to this earth and just flail along?

“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Do not be afraid.   “Keep up your courage.” “Have faith in God.” “It will happen just as He told us in His Word.” “We must run aground on some island”. i,e, pay the consequences of our actions. But we and our household shall be saved. This is the end of the story but the beginning of a new life in Christ.

 

God’s Voice Thursday, Jan 12 2017 

When I was in the third grade, I had a teacher that read to us every day. She would have us put our heads on our desks and close our eyes and just listen. She would read one chapter a day which would invariably leave us wanting more. My heart would race as I thought, “What is going to happen next?” Then on the following day, she would begin again as our eager minds and ears would listen to the story.

I didn’t know it then, but realized later that she had a purpose in telling us stories in this way in order that she could discover which of the children were audio learners rather than visual learners. This allowed her to individuate the learning process for all of the children.

This is how it is when God speaks to us through his scriptures, prayer, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, personal prophecy, godly counsel, confirmation, peace of God, and even the circumstances and timing of events.

Because he created us he knows how it is that each individual learns. When we have a personal relationship with God, he communicates through various means that he determines are appropriate at the time.

He spoke to Moses in a bush, Daniel in a dream, Israel through prophets, etc.

Deuteronomy 4:12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

2 Samuel 23:“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke.

We are not to limit God. He can do whatever he wishes. He is sovereign.

Isaiah 28:

16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.”

One personal prophecy, I received from the Holy Ghost, was when I read these words that went piercing through my soul like a sword directly to my heart: 2 Timothy 3:15-17

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.