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  • When the Storms Rage (Acts 27:13~26) Aug 16, 2018
    Views 0 Update Aug 16, 2018 Speakers Wesley McClure

    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.
    14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island.
    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.
    16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure.
    17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along.
    18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.
    19 On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.
    20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
    21 After the men 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.
    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.
    23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me
    24 and said, `Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'
    25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
    26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

     

     

    Reflection

    Hope and Trust (27:13–20)

    The gentle south wind is soon replaced by the Northeaster, a wind of hurricane force. The ship takes such a violent battering that the crew has to pass ropes under the ship to hold it together and throw the cargo overboard. They cannot put their trust in anything—not even the ship—in the midst of such a powerful storm. After many days of fighting, the crew gives up all hope of being saved. When everything around us is shaken, we realize what we place our trust in, and we may lose all hope in the things of this world. We do not have to remain in hopelessness, however, because we can always find hope in God.

     

    Where do you place your hope and trust? How can you remind yourself to place your hope in God?

     

    God’s Promise (27:21–26)

    The ship’s crew and passengers have gone a long time without food, and they are weak and discouraged. Paul tells them that the ship will be destroyed, but every single person on board will survive. Everything has been stripped from the boat, making it impossible for the crew to put their trust in their skills or their cargo. Their only hope is in God’s promise to them. Paul exhorts the men to have courage because he has faith that God always fulfills His promises. When God makes a promise to His people, He will do what He says. His people can therefore have confidence and faith in Him, knowing that His word will be fulfilled.

     

    When have you doubted God’s promises? How has God proven His faithfulness to you?

     

    A letter to God 

    Dear God, when I experience suffering in this life, remind me of the promises You have fulfilled. Help me to place my complete hope and trust in You so that I can be courageous and confident through every storm. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • Grace in the Storm (Acts 27:1~12) Aug 15, 2018
    Views 0 Update Aug 15, 2018 Speakers Wesley McClure

    1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.
    2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
    3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.
    4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us.
    5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.
    6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.
    7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.
    8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
    9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them,
    10 "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also."
    11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.
    12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

     

     

    Reflection

    Through Every Detour (27:1–8)

    After over two years of imprisonment, Paul finally sets sail for Rome, where he will be able to stand before the emperor and preach the Gospel to Caesar himself. But on the journey from Caesarea to Rome, strong winds throw the ship off course. The progress is slow, and the ship has to make several detours throughout the journey. There are times in life when we face opposition, our progress is slow, and we have to make detours. We may even begin wondering why life has to be this difficult and whether we will reach our destination. But in those moments, it is crucial that we focus our attention on God, for He is faithful to guide us through every challenge.

     

    When have you taken a detour? How has God guided you through it and helped you to get back on the right path?

     

    Listening to God’s Word (27:9–12)

    As winter storms begin to roll in, sailing becomes very dangerous, and Paul warns the crew that their voyage will be disastrous if they continue. However, instead of listening to Paul, who is a tentmaker, the centurion follows the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. The majority also decides that they should sail on rather than remain at Fair Havens for the winter. Sometimes, God may try to warn us through unassuming people who may not look very significant from a worldly point of view. When we make decisions, therefore, we should seek the will of the Lord and grow in our discernment by continually praying and reading God’s Word. Then, we will be able to see things from His perspective and make decisions that reflect the wisdom of God.

     

    How have your decisions changed when you listened to God? How can you encourage others to listen to Him?

     

    A letter to God 

    Lord, thank you for teaching me to trust. When things do not go my way, help me to rest in Your wisdom and promises. When You give a warning, may I trust in Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • Speaking Freely (Acts 26:24~32) Aug 14, 2018
    Views 0 Update Aug 14, 2018 Speakers Wesley McClure

    24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane."
    25 "I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable.
    26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.
    27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
    28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"
    29 Paul replied, "Short time or long -- I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."
    30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them.
    31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, "This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment."
    32 Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."

     

     

    Reflection

    Passion for Christ (26:24–29)

    Even though Festus thinks his prisoner is going insane, Paul insists that his words are true, and he shares freely in front of Agrippa, knowing that the king is a pious Jew and familiar with Old Testament Scripture. Agrippa questions Paul’s boldness in thinking that he can convert the ruler of the region with one short conversation. However, Paul responds that the length of time does not matter. He wants not only Agrippa but also all of the high-ranking officials there to become as passionate about the Gospel as he is. Paul is eager to see them encounter Christ. May we be as passionate for Christ as Paul is, and inspire such passion in those around us.

     

    How great is your passion for Christ? How can you share your testimony so that others may become as passionate as the apostle Paul?

     

    Seeming Setback (26:30–32)

    The officials leave the room to discuss Paul’s fate, and they agree that he has done nothing worthy of death or imprisonment. They are obligated to send him to Rome, however, because he has appealed to Caesar. Though at first glance it may seem regretful that Paul is unable to be set free, God is sovereignly at work in Paul’s life. Paul will be granted the opportunity to preach to the highest officials in the Roman Empire and many others in the grand city of Rome. Sometimes it may seem as though we have made mistakes that have caused setbacks in our lives. But God can turn everything around and change those setbacks into opportunities to bring more people into His kingdom and glorify Him.

     

    What setbacks have you had in your life recently? How can you pray for those setbacks to turn into opportunities for God’s glory?

     

    A letter to God 

    Father, thank you for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die for us. Grant me the grace to grow in my love and passion for You so that I may tell everyone about what Jesus did on the cross. In His name I pray. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • A Light from Heaven (Acts 26:13~23) Aug 13, 2018
    Views 0 Update Aug 13, 2018 Speakers Wesley McClure

    13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.
    14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
    15 "Then I asked, `Who are you, Lord?' "`I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied.
    16 `Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.
    17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them
    18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
    19 "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
    20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.
    21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.
    22 But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen --
    23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."

     

     

    Reflection

    The Highest Authority (26:13–18)

    As Paul continues his testimony about encountering Christ, he wisely adjusts parts of his testimony to suit his audience of high officials. First, he shares what Jesus told him, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads,” which basically means, “You cannot resist the will of God.” Second, he gives Agrippa more details concerning the commission Jesus gave him: to turn both Jews and Gentiles away from darkness and the power of Satan to light and God. Finally, he does not cower before these earthly authorities of high political rank. Rather, he emphasizes the sovereignty and glory of Jesus and exalts Him as the highest authority. When faced with a choice between submitting to men or exalting God, we should choose to exalt God.

     

    What authorities or positions of power do you look up to? In what ways has God revealed that He is sovereign over these earthly powers?

     

    God Will Help (26:19–23)

    Paul recognizes that Agrippa is a Jew and well-versed in the scriptural teachings about being obedient to God’s revealed will. He therefore explains that Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment of what the prophets and Moses have said. This is the message Paul preached to the Jews when he urged them to repent and turn to God, and it is the message that almost got him killed. Despite having faced grave danger, Paul continues to preach the Gospel boldly because God is helping him. May we also have the boldness of Paul to share our faith with others, trusting that God will help us.

     

    Who around you is against the Gospel message? Pray for an opportunity to wisely and boldly share the story of Jesus with that person.

     

    A letter to God 

    Heavenly Father, I thank you that salvation comes from You. Help me to know Your Word so that I can be used to proclaim Your Good News to others in powerful and effective ways. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.