“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” – (Rom 8:37)
The storm had now passed. But the ship was much damaged. Paul, the prisoner, who was being taken to stand trial before Ceaser in Rome, decided to lift up the weary spirits of all around. “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. 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” (Acts 27:33-34).
One of the defining characteristics of any life is how it reacts to a storm. The measure of a man is not in good times but when everything all around is collapsing. Now needless to say we are living in days of storms. There are storms of a pandemic, of wars, jobs lost, finances in tatters, relationships once strong but now scattered. Storms are part of life. Yet for many when faced with a storm hope is lost. Down some even start cursing God. This is how Jobs wife reacted when he was faced with a storm of great financial loss. “His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
When everything is down people need to find hope. Paul was a man of faith who had seen God work supremely in his life. He drew on his past experiences and even as ship disintegrated he was not as ruffled as the rest were. Paul, the prisoner, became the anchor of hope. The ship captain and centurion decided to turn to the prisoner, Paul, for comfort and hope. In the midst of a battered ship, “he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged” (vv 35- 36).
Christians are not immune to life’s storms as the life of Paul clearly shows. We live in a fallen world and none of us on earth would be spared as such. What distinguishes believers is the grace to bear all circumstances with hope. If you are going through a storm of any kind may your faith rise above the storm knowing that God will come through as He has done before, and will for evermore.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, on these seas of life where storms come, I look up to you, knowing you will rescue me, that I need not worry, because you are the Almighty God, ever in control, and I shall be triumphant, to the glory of your son, Jesus Christ!
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!