Saturday, December 18, 2010


In Acts 27 Paul shares the most amazing account of ONE of the times he was shipwrecked. Paul was a prisoner on a ship - and there was this terrible storm:

"when neither the sun stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After the men had gone a long time without food..." (you really should read it, the details are fascinating!)

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. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 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.' So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

So I'm thinking, that's great that they are spared and all, but why the storm, why did Paul (why do I) have to go through the shipwreck?!! There are so many aspects of this account that fascinate me! For example, Paul was praying for all the people on the ship to be spared, even his captors. Also, it's apparent that enduring captivity, and a long, ferocious, storm wasn't a coincidence or mistake.

Incidentally, this is the kind of thing I think Peter is referring to when he says in 1 Peter 3:14: "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord..." In my Bible, I have written next to this passage: PRESS ON!

As a person who hates pain and cold waves, I think to myself things like: How 'bout if we avoid waves altogether? Waves are scary - they are salty, wet giants and usually freezing cold! But it's through the storms we cry out to God. Its in the midst of darkness we seek Him and cling to Him. In waves we see God's glory and power and feel His hugs of reassurance.

I still don't want to be shipwrecked, ever! But when I'm tossed in the waves of the storms of my life, I know I need to set my heart on Christ and PRESS ON!

Friday, December 10, 2010

He sets the lonely in families

Interesting thing about the God I serve. He understands lonely. He gets it. He is purposeful about "being part of the solution" as we like to say. Some would accuse God of causing loneliness, but I firmly believe that every lonely moment is a result of a "relationship problem." Ours, not His.

He created us with this hugely needy heart, that beats best when fully loved. I've noticed that our hearts aren't so choosy, they can beat with even just a little bit of love. The God of the bible is Creator. He created us to need relationship with Him and with each other. We all need connection - even us introverts! The following words were written "for the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song."

"Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

I can't speak for God, but at the very least I can say God doesn't tolerate loneliness. Loneliness can feel like wallowing in a place of looking ahead and seeing no chance for change or relief. The ultimate loneliness is being separated from hope. God showed us His intolerance for loneliness by providing a way out of it! Yes, I'm talking about that 'John 14:6 Way' - God's solution, God's cure, God's gift.