Sunday, February 11, 2018

Shipwrecked Faith

Did you know that you could be shipwrecked and your footsteps still be ordered of the Lord? Paul mentions in 2nd Corinthians 11:25 how he had been shipwrecked not once but three times. Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord." Paul knew Colossians 1:17 and how, "Christ is before all things and in Him all things hold together." So if he put the Lord first then everything would fall into place to the glory of the Lord. This knowledge sent him on a tumultuous obstacle course of unforeseen dangers. 

However it was through living out such a bold and unwavering faith that Paul was given the great honor of being instructed by the Lord with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to write 13 books of the New Testamant. Paul was obviously highly favored which tells me he was a good man. Yet not only was he shipwrecked the scripture also tells us in that same passage how he had been beaten three times with rods, stoned once, in perils with robbers, his own countrymen, in hunger and thirst and so on.

You see Paul was able to write so many books because he had lived it. For he says in Romans 5:1-5 where he speaks of how we are justified by faith. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us." He also recognized and acknowledged in Romans 8:34-35, "It is Christ Who died, and furthermore is also risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Verse 37 "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us." As Jesus declared while upon the cross in John 19:30, "It is finished!"

I wonder what Paul did while he was shipwrecked and I can't help but think about when he and Silas were in jail and how they sang praises to the Lord and the prison doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. Who in their right mind sings praises to the Lord while in jail?!?! Someone who is free in Christ!!! And because they were free the evidence poured out in the natural realm as the keeper of the prison saw these things and was amazed!!  The keeper fell down before Paul and Silas with fear and trembling asking them what he must do to be saved. You see, in the natural the keeper appeared to be free when in reality he was the one in bondage. I can't help but think that while Paul was shipwrecked he prayed, gave thanks and glory to God and may have even worshipped Him in song.  

Then I think about the songs the Lord has blessed me with and so I sing in hopes that every step along the narrow way that He is delivering me from things such as anxiety, fear of man, loneliness and so on. It is my hope that He all the more uses the songs I sing to set multitudes of captives free as they receive the hope and encouragement such as I have and continue to. As I sing I pray that the world sees the shackles of despair falling from my flesh such as in the manner of the keeper of the prison seeing the prison doors open and the chains loosened. 

Once again; Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things and in Him all things hold together." All things hold together even when it seems they may be falling apart. Paul was shipwrecked but he was being changed from glory to glory. 2nd Corinthians 3:7-18 Job lost an entire family yet he was blessed more in the end than the beginning. Job 42:12-17

In Matthew 3:17 as soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God, descending like a dove and resting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased!!!" Yet later on down the line the Lord allowed Jesus to be beaten beyond recognition and left hanging on a cross to die. The One Who was without sin among all men of Whom had ever walked upon the face of the earth. How can this be so? It does not seem fair!! 

Mark 13:13 says, "Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved!" By enduring to the end we become a living testimony as to the glory of the Lord in Who He is and how He proves himself to be faithful. When our steps are ordered by the Lord then He can become the Author and Finisher or our Faith. All the pain and suffering of this life are temporary yet in Revelation 21 we are told the Lord makes all things new. There will be no more tears, no more sorrow and no more death. We can believe this because the tomb is empty! Death was defeated at the cross!

When a mother has a healthy delivery the baby comes out completely oblivious to how it left the womb and ended up in its mothers arms. Those Who are children of the Lord Who created the Heavens and the earth will pass from death to life and it will be far more glorious than when those who appeared out of the womb without complications to elated parents. We will be with the Father and with Jesus Who is preparing a place for us at this time. Just as a parent gets the babies room ready upon anticipation of its arrival.

The Father pursues us just by causing the sun to set upon us and by waking us up each day. We are to seek Him while He may be found. The only wise choice is to accept the sacrifice of His one and Only begotten Son and be washed in the blood of the Lamb that we also shall become righteous. The moment someone accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior they have taken their first step!