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Devotions > LIstening

Captive in a Boat
15 Dec 2011


Yesterday while considering what the Lord would have us learn about Him and about prayer for revival it became clear that we were to examine Acts Chapter 27.   At first glance this chapter seems to be simply a narrative of the life of the Apostle Paul in a later time in his life.    However we will attempt to make a more calculated review seeking insights from God’s Spirit.

But before we become submerged in  Acts Chapter 27 it may be wise to consider a question that appears on the threshold of this passage that could cause some to wonder if it was Spirit-filled wisdom that moved Paul to appeal to Caesar?

 Acts 26:31-32 (AMP)
31 And after they had gone out, they said to one another, This man is doing nothing deserving of death or [even] of imprisonment.
32 And Agrippa said to Festus, This man could have been set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar.

 While King Agrippa obviously thought that to be free was superior to being in prison, that opinion does not seem to square with God’s plan for Paul.   God’s plan for Paul, it seems, was to spend a few years in prison on two different occasions during the later part of his life. 

Meanwhile, during his journey to Rome Paul, was given insight from the Lord regarding the best way to arrive at his planned destination.    In verses 9 through 12 we see Paul warning the sailors that they are headed into danger, but the helmsman and the owner of the ship thought otherwise and thus the majority advised to set sail.     We should note that siding with the majority is not always the safest position to support.    Prayer, that is, listening to God is always superior to the majority opinion!  

When the conditions on this ship had become completely hopeless, Paul proclaimed a path of hope.

Acts 27:21-25 (AMP)
21 Then as they had eaten nothing for a long time, Paul came forward into their midst and said, Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have put to sea from Crete and brought on this disaster and harm and misery and loss.
22 But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship.
23 For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship,
24 And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you.
25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me;

Luke does not record what Paul was doing while the sailors and Roman soldiers were putting cables under the ship and throwing the cargo and ship’s tackle overboard, but it seems from the narrative that Paul’s position was probably on his knees with his hands folded as compared to the soldiers and sailors probable panic pacing and wringing of hands.

From our outsiders perspective we can see that the trouble these folks had entered was directly related to their trusting in their own intellect and experience.    A wise man once said, “we will not be able to solve these problems using the same thinking we used that caused them in the first place.”    It seems we can see the folly of not trusting in God and not seeking His direction so much more clearly when the subject of our investigation is someone else.   

God knows what He is doing.   He is preparing for it even now.   He apparently had a plan for Paul to stand before Caesar as He sent an angel to proclaim this message to him.    It must have been an important part of God’s plan since as far as we can discern all angelic visits to mankind have been related to matters that are important to God.

From this passage we discern that we should to spend time in prayer and further a significant portion of our prayer time needs to be listening.   God desires to direct us.     One of the best ways to hear from God is to simply ask in faith.    Our asking brings glory to God.    God could have translated Paul to Rome but He had a different plan. 

 God had provided a captive audience for Paul.   Two hundred and seventy five sailors, soldiers, prisoners, and Luke were together with Paul on this ship and God made sure that no one was going anywhere.    With this captive audience in place God used Paul to magnify His name through supernatural wisdom, direction and miracles displayed thorough His willing instrument.   We don’t know all that God had in mind for Paul during these years of arrest and imprisonment.    However it does seem clear that many on this ship came in close proximity to the power and wisdom of God.

Then what about us?   We gravitate in our thinking to ourselves and try to understand God from this small center.   It is no wonder that so much of what God is planning seems foreign to our thinking.   While God has plans for us, His plans are not primarily for us, they are foremost for His glory!   This is demonstrated in the prayer pattern that Jesus taught to His disciples.  First we are to bring honor and glory and praise of God.   Next we find the directive to submit our will and our plans in favor of His will and His plans for His kingdom and His glory.   Then, on down the line, we find encouragement to ask for our daily bread and for our protection from the evil one.

God is planning a significant revival for Central Indiana.  This revival is not for us;it is for His glory.     For what God plans He also prepares.   He is calling some to prepare for this revival.   Some He is calling to pray for revival and others have been called to pray on site for pastors and churches.    We are requesting you to pray in one of the following ways.  Pray for revival.   Pray on site for Pastors and Churches as these opportunities become available, or pray for those who are praying.   Jesus did not say if you pray, but rather when you pray, pray in this way … Our Father in Heaven hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.   Thisis our prayer for revival, thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth, here in central Indiana, as it is in heaven.  

Jeff Williams