Where is God in the storm?

Acts 27:20 NIV

There are times when God seems inaccessible. When you pray, you feel abandoned in your present circumstances. And not just abandoned, but terrified and even hopeless. Paul understood that feeling. He’d longed for an opportunity to preach in Rome, and was on his way there when a hurricane destroyed his ship. Paul not only foresaw the loss of the ship, its crew and cargo, but “our own lives also” (v. 10 NIV). He tried to warn the crew of the impending tragedy, but his words were disregarded by those in charge. In short, Paul and 276 others were placed in a life-threatening position by the willful disregard of others, and there was nothing he could do about it. Feeling a sense of despair, he and his believing companions declared, “We finally gave up all hope of being saved!” Then after fourteen days lost at sea – when the hurricane was fiercest – God sent an angel. “Do not be afraid, Paul…God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you” (v. 24 NIV). When it looked like Paul’s consuming desire to preach in Rome would be thwarted, God faithfully piloted them through the storm to the exact destination He’d planned for them. Paul would go to Rome and declare God’s Word before Caesar! Are you caught in a storm? Whatever trial you’re facing today, know this one thing: You can trust God to carry you through it. He determines “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10), so you will come out of this stronger and wiser.

Soul food: Lam 1:1-3:39; Mark 12:28-44; Ps 108; Prov 13:24-25

Waar is God in die storm?

Handelinge 27:20 NLV

Daar is tye wat dit voel of God ontoeganklik is. Wanneer jy in jou huidige omstandighede bid, voel jy verlate. Nie net verlate nie, maar vreesbevange en selfs hopeloos. Paulus het daardie gevoel verstaan. Hy het gesmag na ‘n geleentheid om in Rome te gaan preek en was onderweg daarheen toe ‘n orkaan sy skip vernietig het. Paulus het voorsien dat nie net die skip en die vrag verlore sou gaan nie, maar dat hulle ook hulle lewens sou verloor (sien vers 10). Hy het die bemanning van die dreigende tragedie probeer waarsku, maar sy woorde is deur die mense in beheer verontagsaam. In kort, is Paulus en 276 ander mense in ‘n lewensgevaarlike posisie geplaas en daar was niks wat hy daaraan kon doen nie. Hy en sy gelowige metgeselle het wanhopig gevoel en verklaar, ‘Uiteindelik is alle hoop laat vaar dat ons gered sou word.’ Na veertien dae wat hulle op see verlore was – toe die orkaan op sy ergste gewoed het – het God ‘n engel gestuur. ‘…Hou op bang wees, Paulus… om jou ontwil spaar God almal wat hier saam met jou op die skip is’ (vers 24 NLV). Toe dit lyk asof Paulus se verterende begeerte om in Rome te gaan preek gedwarsboom sou word, het God hulle getrou deur die storm gestuur na die presiese bestemming wat Hy vir hulle in gedagte gehad het. Paulus sou na Rome gaan en God se Woord voor Caesar verklaar! Is jy in ‘n storm vasgevang? Watter toets jy ook al vandag voor te staan kom, weet hierdie een ding: Jy kan God vertrou om jou daardeur te dra. Hy maak ‘…die einde bekend vanaf die begin…’ (Jesaja 46:10 NLV), dus sal jy sterkter en wyser hier deur kom.

Sielskos: Klaag 1:1-3:39; Mark 12:28-44; Ps 108; Spr 13:24-25

Go on to maturity

Hebrews 6:1 NLT

We all get the same 168 hours in our week. But if the only time you devote to your spiritual growth is the time you spend in church on Sunday morning, you’ll never move beyond spiritual infancy. Think about it. An infant can’t feed itself; it chooses candy over carrots; it constantly falls down and has to be picked up; it keeps wandering off and getting into trouble; it’s basically self-centered and needs to be disciplined and trained. Are you getting the picture? The new birth is exciting, but it’s supposed to be your launching pad, not your crib. The Bible says, “Let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.” Note the words “Let us.” That means it’s up to you! At some point you’ve got to say to yourself, “Starting today I’m going to do what it takes to grow up spiritually and discover God’s plan for my life.” One day at the end of World War I, General Louis Lyautey asked his gardener to plant a particular type of tree on his estate. The gardener informed him that the tree, being unusually slow to grow, would take nearly a century to reach maturity. “In that case,” the general replied, “there’s no time to lose. Plant it this afternoon!” Here’s a fail-safe plan for growing into spiritual maturity: “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:2-3 NLT).

Soul food: Gal 4-6; Mark 12:13-27; Ps 101; Prov 13:20-23

Spiritual maturity

Hebrews 6:1 NLT

As children grow and mature, they progress from milk to solid foods. And in Hebrews, our spiritual journey is compared to this progression. The Bible says: ‘Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby and knows nothing about right teaching. But solid food is for those who are grown up. They are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil’ (Hebrews 5:13-14 NCV). If the only time we devote to our spiritual growth is the time we spend in church on a Sunday morning, we’ll never move beyond spiritual infancy. We need more than those church services and rushed moments with God to become spiritually mature. We need to be taking extended time out to build our relationship with God, and we need to be digging deeper into the Bible so that we can move on from the basic teaching. The Bible says, ‘Let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.’ Through reading more about God, and listening to Him speak, we can understand more about His character and His plans for us. And we need to be taking ownership of our own spiritual journey. We can’t rely on other people to develop our faith through talks, encouragement, or conferences. These are all great things to help in spiritual growth, but we need to make the decision to take our own steps to progressing spiritually too. Let’s be people who ‘delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night’ (Psalm 1:2 NLT). Let’s be people who make becoming spiritually mature a priority in their lives.

Gal 4-6; Mark 12:13-27; Ps 101; Prov 13:20-23