Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 – Day 343.Dec 10 – Anchor of Stability

Passage for Study: Acts 27: 1 – 26 … Acts 27 linked for study …

My Journal for Today: In this last year of devotionals with Chuck Swindoll, in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, I cannot recall disagreeing with my devotional shepherd, even once. However, I’m afraid I don’t hold with his word picture of “the anchor” Paul experienced when he became shipwrecked on his voyage to Rome along the coasts of Asia Minor in the highlight passage from Acts 27 in today’s devotional. And in this story, it looked hopeless to all aboard the ship on which Paul was traveling. But we see the Apostle rising to declare to the ship’s captain and crew that he had received a visitation of a heavenly messenger telling Paul that no life aboard that ship would be lost. And Paul’s faith in that messenger and the message from God became the only hope for the crew, who believed they were about to God.

When we read, in Acts 27, of Paul’s staunch and encouraging words in the presence of such dire circumstances, Swindoll alludes to a passage in Isaiah 43: 1-2, in which God states, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” In this passage and in Paul’s dire circumstances of Acts 27, Swindoll refers to a word picture which closely addresses what the Apostle Paul and his fellow crew members faced in that winter storm. And here’s where Swindoll’s teaching is slightly out of tune for me.

Swindoll likens Paul’s dilemma to our facing storms in life as we are buffeted by winds of life’s circumstances which blow us off course; and I have no trouble with this word picture. However, he posits that Christ becomes the picture Paul’s anchor of stability, THE Anchor, if you will, God especially having provided, through a heavenly messenger, a message of salvation in the midst of the storm. Maybe you also see where I might not agree with Swindoll that Christ is the anchor in this word picture.

Actually, I see Christ as “the rock,” to which “the anchor” of faith is affixed rather than Jesus, Himself, being the anchor. Paul did have an anchor, which allowed him to be cool in the midst of the storm; but I contend that anchor was Paul’s faith to which he attached the ultimate trust in His Savior, Jesus. Maybe I’m splitting semantic hairs here; but I recognize that we all need “an anchor” in our mind/heart to give us stability in the midst of any trying times in our lives. But to me that anchor is my faith in Christ, not the Lord Himself. Jesus Christ never changes; and His promises, for any believer (like Paul), become the rock to which we can affix our faith, because the Lord as our Rock will never leave, nor forsake, us in the midst of any storm or trials. If we know His word and His promises, we can trust in this stability, Christ being our Rock, as we read in such passages as Deut. 31: 6, Hebrews 13: 5, and from Paul in 1st Cor. 10: 13. I do hope you know what these passages say so that they become the rock to which you attach your anchor of faith.

So. in my word picture, God is our ROCK, and our faith in the “Rock” is our anchor as we attach our faith to the immutable and immoveable truth of God’s promises and His provision. I can see how others, like Swindoll, use God as a word picture of “the anchor;” but I’ll just continue to hold to my picture, of faith in God being my anchor; because my picture drives me to know my God more and more and go deeper and deeper into His word so that I’ll know, deeply in my heart, the Rock to Whom I can attach my faith to give me stability in the face of the storms of life.

Thank you for listening to my little argument today with Chuck Swindoll. You’ll have to be my referee in this word picture dilemma. But you need to answer for yourself and decide >>> What is your anchor in life?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You are my Rock; and to You I affix my anchor of faith. Amen

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