Monday, January 21, 2008

Making it THROUGH the Storm without Shipwreck

This is THE day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it. I pray that you make the choice to rejoice right now! Right now, I choose to rejoice over my salvation! I am so thankful that Jesus CONVERTED me from a lost soul on my way to hell, to a person who is full of joy and on my way to heaven! That is SHOUTIN' GROUND!

We had a great day in the Lord yesterday. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend. God is taking us places, and it is exciting to be a part of it!

I want to share with you today on how to prepare for STORMS and how to avoid SHIPWRECK when you go through a storm. Let's look together at Acts 27:10-15 in the Message version:

Acts 27:10-15 "I see only disaster ahead for cargo and ship--to say nothing of our lives!--if we put out to sea now." (11) The centurion set Paul's warning aside and let the ship captain and the shipowner talk him into trying for the next harbor. (12) But it was not the best harbor for staying the winter. Phoenix, a few miles further on, was more suitable. (13) When a gentle southerly breeze came up, they weighed anchor, thinking it would be smooth sailing. (14) But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor'easter, struck. (15) They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm.

I. Three things to remember if you want to get out of the storm without losing everything:

(A) Prepare for the storm before you get into it!
The wise man built his house upon a rock because he believed in storms (Matthew 7:24). It's impossible to go through life without them. Where did we ever get the idea that we wouldn't have problems?

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him" (Philippians 1:29 NIV). This is warfare - not welfare!

(B) Stay calm! Panic kills more pilots than bad weather because it clouds their ability to think clearly. In the storm Jesus said to His disciples, "It is I; do not be afraid " (Mark 6:50). Get your eyes on Jesus and keep them there, otherwise your fear will hurt you more than your circumstances. Paul knew that God's plan will always prevail so he announced in the midst of a storm, "Keep up your courage… for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me" (Acts 27:25 NIV).

Also, declare the Word of God with CONFIDENCE: In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Romans 8:37 NIV

(C) Never abandon your purpose! They threw their cargo - the purpose for their journey - overboard. Don't do it! Never let go of the purpose for which God called you for it will sustain you through the hard times. Later Paul would write, "We know that all things work together for good… to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

So be strong; the storm doesn't control your destiny, God does. He's still in charge. Stand up and announce, "In all these things we are more than conquerors."

II. Four things to remember to avoid SHIPWRECK in the midst of a storm:

Your life is like a voyage. We will go through storms. You DO NOT have to shipwreck in the midst of the storm. To avoid shipwreck, notice the following four things from our text:

(A) They were dissatisfied with where they were.
"Since the harbour was unsuitable… the majority decided that we should sail on."
God doesn't guide us by dissatisfaction or by opinion polls; He guides us by His Spirit. When things get difficult we're called to overcome them, not try to escape them.

(B) They were impatient to get to where they were going. There's not a single verse in the Bible (that I can recall) that tells us to hurry up or we'll miss God! In the wilderness Israel learned that when the cloud moves, you move; when the cloud stops, stay where you are and wait on God.

(C) They failed to heed God's Word.
"But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot." Be careful, if you look hard enough you'll find someone whose opinion confirms what you want to do. And that will get you into trouble.

(D) They looked to the circumstances instead of God to guide them. "When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they… sailed. Before very long… The ship was caught by the storm."
The idea that circumstances will always line up favorably with God's guidance is not Scriptural. Sometimes God leads you through the wilderness. And He'll never lead you anywhere that doesn't require His provision and protection. If you can get there without God – you probably need to question whether it is Him that sent you or not.

So if you want to avoid shipwreck ask God to show you the right way - which is His way!

My prayer for you today is that you will follow the leading of His Spirit in everything that you do. Remember, Revelation 3:22:

(KJVR) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

(MSG) "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches."

The Spirit of God is speaking to you even in the midst of your storm…are you LISTENING! I love you guys! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a Year" Bible reading (ONLY 15 MINUTES A DAY)

January 21, 2008 Exodus 32:1-34:35


Shelby said...

Hey Bro. Rusty,

It has been a long time, and I don't know if you remember me or not. Shelby from way back in Harmony Grove. I'm still in the Air Force and over in Korea again for the second time. I just couldn't sleep and decided to surf the internet, googled your name and up you came. Thought I'd drop you a line and see how things are going. The only thing I can tell has changed is you look older, but your wife looks exactly the same... lol, how does that happen?... It looks like the church has really taken off and growing and I see you still have a message we all can use. Hope to talk to you more soon.