Passage for Study: Acts 27: 23 - 38 … Acts 27 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: The scenario Swindoll has pointed his readers (me) toward today is quite a scene, isn’t it? Here are over 250 men on this sinking ship, depleted and famished from two weeks of fighting the storm without eating; and they’re desperate. Now this Jewish prisoner, obviously with the favor of the ship’s Captain, gives them hope that he’s been given from a vision from God that no one will perish IF – and only if – they stay with the ship. And then Paul exhorts them to eat and to renew their strength; and he leads them in prayer, worshipping the One, True God.
Swindoll’s speculation is probably right on target … that many of these men had likely never prayed; and most of them certainly were not believers in Yahweh, the Hebrew God. So, for many of the crew, this was the first time they had ever prayed and been led in worship to what Paul was claiming was the God of hope in the midst of this horrible storm. But all of these men, and the ship’s Captain, were willing to surrender to Paul’s encouraging words and directions. They had no where else to turn; and they prayed.
And this becomes a model for us as well. Pastor Chuck is also right that it is a human tendency to let the disciplines of the faith, like worship, praise, and prayer, lapse when we’re depleted, tired, and wracked with hopelessness. It’s very easy to let self pity take us down a road of physical, emotional, and, most certainly, spiritual depletion. And oh how our enemy, Satan, loves for us to get drained of all physical, emotional, or spiritual energy so that we cower within ourselves in self pity, rather than do what Paul did to re-establish the anchor of renewal with the ship’s crew.
For the physically depleted, food and rest are the anchors of renewal, aren’t they? Well, for the spiritually and/or emotionally drained, meditation in God’s promises and the commitment and dedication to pray are the spiritual anchors of renewal; and in both of these arenas of restoration, Paul led the men on the ship. He told them to gather what food they had left; and then he led them in prayer. And when Paul prayed, though we don’t have the prayer recorded by Dr. Luke, there is little doubt those men heard Paul praising God, expressing thankfulness for having spared them to that point; and then they no doubt heard Paul petition God to save their lives so that God would be glorified. These men got a lesson in the anchor of renewal which Paul knew would come if they remained dependent and prayed to God.
Dear one, most certainly we all need to maintain life habits which help us to maintain our physical well being, … proper diet and regular exercise. However, maybe even more importantly, we need to do what it takes to keep our spirit thriving as well. Do you remember what Paul wrote to Timothy about the latter? He said (in 2nd Tim. 1: 7), For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. And Paul knew that truth in this life or death scenario as well. He also had the insight of receiving a word of knowledge from God about the outcome of the ship; and he took that message to the crew; but he also prayed; and so should we when we need the anchor of spiritual renewal when we’re spiritually depleted in our lives.
My Prayer for Today: Oh, Holy Spirit, I hope all who read this have a vital and renewable prayer life with You, Lord; and may we all come to You for hope, peace, and joy when we’re feeling depleted of Spirit in our lives. Amen