Ships sink

Ships sink

Acts 27:22 “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”

They were created to float but ships do sink. The oceans are littered with sunken ships. Stuff like this happens. Welcome to the sea. It’s life.

What carries you may go down. The storm of life may cause your security to be broken up. The foundation gone. The vehicle that is taking you to your destination lost forever. Yet at that time you will find that what you thought was carrying you actually wasn’t. It is someone else who is carrying you. The God of the seas is carrying you!

You won’t go down with this ship. You will not be lost. You have a Saviour. And if you do go down He not only is Saviour He is the Resurrection! You don’t lose.

But it takes courage to remain when the ship sinks. You have to make a decision to maintain your resilience. Never surrender your life to any storm that comes your way. From moments of discouragement to depths of despair many have said ‘I give up’. But Paul urges them to hold on and the Spirit urges you today to hold on, to get a grip of yourself. You see, the real battle is not the storm of circumstance but the storm within.

Let the ship go down, not everything lasts, but the eternal everlasting all-powerful Father will never lose you. He holds you today, so take courage.

I told you so!

I told you so!

Acts 27:21 “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.”

When things go wrong the last thing you need is someone coming along to say “I told you so!”

We often dismiss that voice as being rude, arrogant and pointless.

And so we never learn.

  • The voice of the inexperienced should not be overlooked.
  • Sometimes the best approach to life is to say NO.
  • Storms always cause damage and loss.
  • You are not invincible.
  • In every storm you can make matters worse by bad decisions.

There, I told you so.

What should never be thrown overboard?

What should never be thrown overboard?

Acts 27: 20 “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.”

The cargo has gone, all the tackle and personal belongings have gone, this ship is looking very different to how it set out. But still it is taking on water, they continue to sink and the storm is not dying out.

What do you do when you have let go of responsibilities, expectations and your investments but life doesn’t change? What do you do when you downscale because you have too much stuff but the burden for carrying the stuff of life is as heavy as it was?

Whatever is that answer what you do not do is throw Hope overboard.

Hope is everything. Without hope you will indeed perish.

Keep believing, hold on to the truth that you will get through this. You will see the other side. This season will change. The storm will subside.

I’ve always loved those few words in the KJV of Old Testament which appear many times over, ‘And it came to pass’.

Why let go of hope now when it will come to pass?

Never give this up. When all is gone make sure you are still holding on to hope!

 

If it doesn’t get any easier what is going overboard?

If it doesn’t get any easier what is going overboard?

Acts 27:19 “On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.”

Three days ago they threw the cargo overboard, the grain and merchandise that the ship had been carrying was now gone.

During storms of difficulty our lives can be lightened by the letting go of responsibilities, expectations and investments.

But what if it doesn’t change?

Their ship was continuing to take on water, it was sinking and they needed to lighten it again, they had to keep float. So they began to dismantle with their own bare hands the ship itself. They threw the ships equipment overboard. This was probably not the mast and the sail as later clearly the ship was still sailing, but this was probably all the moveable objects, furniture, personal belongings, their luggage. They all were involved carrying things and throwing them into the sea.

How much ‘stuff’ are you carrying in your life? It is only in the storm do you realise that actually some things are not essential, they are luxuries. You may have thought they added value to your life but today you see they are in danger of ruining it.

What do you hold as untouchable? What will you lay down in order to rise? In the good times you will try and carry everything, but on the third day of sinking, everything looks different doesn’t it?

It seems that the important ‘stuff’ in our lives though do add value they also add weight. We give our time, energy, even money to maintain and hold on to what we have got. Are these burdens truly what God is asking you to carry?

Do we need to lay burdens down today?

Lighten your life, get rid.

What is going overboard?

What is going overboard?

Acts 27:18 “We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.”

What would you get rid of first?

The ship was in danger of sinking so they began to lighten it by throwing all their merchandise, the grain and goods that were heading to Rome.

It is amazing how much you can carry when all is well. When the storm strikes it is then you realise that some things are really heavy:

  • Responsibilities: the things that people give you to carry. You have been trusted and people are relying on you.
  • Expectations: you are a ship after all, this is what you do, the obvious things and the unquestionable things, you just have to carry them.
  • Investments: things you have given to and spent time with and what others have made in you also, it is hard to let go of what has happened.

If letting go of just one thing which is either a responsibility or an expectation or what you have invested your time and money in would lighten your life so much you feel you will thus survive, then maybe you are carrying way too much?!

Are you carrying what God is asking you to carry?

You may waken up to a storm today and it could be that you have to lighten your life, to make some radical adjustments.

If you cannot handle disappointment then you will never let go. Sometimes disappointing somebody is exactly what you need to do in order to keep sailing through the storm.

Throw something overboard.

Hoisting, Frapping and Anchoring – which do you have to do today?

Hoisting, Frapping and Anchoring – which do you have to do today?

Acts 27:17 “so the men hoisted the lifeboat 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 and let the ship be driven along.”

 

The sandbars of Syrtis were well known and seamen everywhere feared sailing near them. To hit them meant you were doomed; it was a point of no return. To hit one of the sandbars meant you would be stuck in the middle of nowhere, miles from the shore. They would have had grain for food on the ship but they would have died from dehydration, water all around but none to drink. The storm was pushing them ever nearer this fate and they were very much afraid.

So they hoisted. Their small boat, their lifeboat, was the last way out, losing this or it being damaged beyond repair would mean they had absolute no security. Sometimes it is important to take care of your security. Shepherds need shepherding, parents need parenting and those who look tirelessly invincible are often not. That person who brings you stability may need a little help at times. But also your immortal soul needs refreshing, your heart needs guarding and your mind needs staying on God. Don’t lose what is the most important part of your life. Take care of that person. Take care of you.

So they frapped. They wrapped the ship with cords and ropes to keep it together. They bound it so that it wouldn’t split open. They were taking precautionary measures. They were helping the ship. In any storm of life there are things you can do. You are not doomed yet. It is not over for you. You can love. You can bind. You can wrap your life in the truth of God’s word and not what people say.

So they anchored. That doesn’t mean they were chained to the seabed and could not move. This was the sea anchor or the drift anchor, or better still, this was their brakes. It was an object that dragged in the water behind the boat that kept the boat in a straight line and gave it less freedom to turn and bounce around in the storm. In a storm we all need to know where the parachute is. Basically, stop running frantically, slow down and keep things level and as steady as possible. In quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15).

If you are in a storm today try hoisting, frapping and anchoring, you might have to do all 3!

Where is your lifeboat?

Where is your lifeboat?

Acts 27:16 “As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure”

Each ship would be towing a smaller boat (a lifeboat) behind them. In a storm you can imagine the scene; the boat would be crashing against the ship and in danger of causing damage to itself and even to the ship, it would be taking on water and submerging. The crew and passengers were all trying to keep the boat secure but it looks like they were failing.

Where is your security today?

Is it in a person, a job, finances, your home or family?

Anyone of these can at times struggle in the storms of life as much as you do. Storms can take you to the edge where you are trying to secure your security that has now become very insecure.

Of course there is only ever One who can be totally relied upon for our security and it is God alone.

We can imagine those on board trying desperately to balance the smaller boat, maybe if they could do this they could get to the island and to safety. All their best efforts are failing. Their lifeboat is becoming a death boat. Hopes are fading. Ideas are running out. If it carries on like this all they will have left is a cry of mercy. When your lifeboat is out of control then everything is hopeless. Make sure your lifeboat is God.

 

Drifting

Drifting

Acts 27:15 “The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.”

Amplified: and when the ship was caught in it and could not head against the wind [to gain stability], we gave up and [letting her drift] were driven along.

You can see them come. Storms.

Some choose to run from them but are ultimately caught by them. It is hard to outrun a storm that is heading your way.

You can have 2 options in a storm:

  1. Face it and try to keep everything balanced in your life.
  2. Drift.

Paul’s ship struggled to stay balanced and so it drifted.

My thoughts on drifting:

  1. Drifters will reach any destination but probably not their chosen one.
  2. Drifters have tried but failed so have given up.
  3. Drifters have permitted the outside circumstance to dictate their lives.
  4. Drifters had huge potential, dreams and purpose.
  5. Drifters are drifting because of perhaps only one bad decision that meant they are today where they should never have been.

TYPHOONS

TYPHOONS

Acts 27:14 “Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island.”

The harbour faced both southwest and northwest and it was quite unique meaning that at certain times of the year the harbour was the safest place to be. Even though Paul wanted to get to Rome he advised against continuing from the harbour, but he was in the minority.

So they lifted their anchor and sailed onward, close and safe (so they thought) to the island.

Then it happened … the typhoon. It didn’t come from the open sea pushing them against the rocks where the ship would be broken up. It came from across Crete and pushed them away from their intended purpose of keeping close to the island.

My thoughts:

  1. Typhoons happen in typhoon season: wisdom or perhaps common-sense tells us when the spiritual attacks are likely to come, preparation is everything.
  2. When typhoons happen it is not business as usual: spiritual attacks debilitate and adjustment is needed.
  3. Typhoons can begin as gentle winds: spiritual attacks can be birthed out of a place of deception.
  4. Typhoons can receive descriptive names: the identity of spiritual attacks is important for the overcoming of them.
  5. Typhoons push you away: spiritual attacks will always push you away from your purpose.

WIND

WIND

 

Acts 27:13 “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.”

 

I was reflecting last night on my childhood when my father before 10pm and bed time would go into the kitchen and make some supper and listen to the shipping forecast.

I am not sure why he did that. We didn’t live anywhere near the coast and there was no fisherman in our family. But that was when I began to hear of north westerly and south winds in some place I had never heard of.

I have friends who live on a small island and the wind forecasts is really important to them as it even causes them to change their route because certain roads may be battered by the sea waves racing in.

Some people go through their whole life understanding and adjusting to the storms and winds of our amazing world.

Some people are battered by life.

Some people have no experience of that.

Some people know that winds are not pure enemies. Some appreciate the gentle breezes that enable the motivation or provocation to move into new chapters of life.

Some people don’t like any change at all.

Some people get deceived by the winds of life. They think the gentle wind will continue and they set out in a direction not realising that it can all change in a moment.

Some people remain unmoved.

My thinking:

  1. The natural world is to be understood and so is the spiritual world.
  2. We are foolish if we don’t believe in spiritual enemies.
  3. Wisdom is the key.
  4. Our spiritual enemies ultimately desire to deceive us.
  5. Those who don’t experience winds, never go anywhere.