Received on November 5th, 2006 - 1:40PM Last Updated: January 15th, 2007 - 2:50AM
As my pastor was speaking before receiving the offering, about "keeping the church afloat," I had an image come to my mind from the Lord, along with a story from Acts.
Paul was prisoner and was being taken by Roman guards to be tried before Caesar. He warned them not to take a certain ship voyage, having been warned by God (Acts 27:9-10). But not fearing God nor Paul's revelation, they set sail anyway (Acts 27:11-12).
As the storm came and the ship was in danger of being sunk, they began to cast things overboard.
When the storm only increased, Paul was visited by an angel of Yahweh who guaranteed his and their safety (Acts 27:21-26), but only if all passengers stayed in the boat (Acts 27:27-32).
The following day Paul broke bread before them (Acts 27:33-35). To further lighten the ship, they then threw the wheat overboard, which was their only food source.
When they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. (Acts 27:38)
I then saw us, God's people, throwing our important things over the side of our spiritual boats. Again another scripture came to my mind:
Cast your bread on the waters; for you shall find it after many days. (Ecclesiastes 11:1)
Together, the HolySpirit wanted these two scriptures to teach us to value what is truly important. We must keep our ship afloat by tossing overboard what is dear to us. But we ourselves must stay in the boat, or we cannot be saved.
Our money is our very life (as the wheat was to the voyagers with Paul), but when we are faced with difficult circumstances we must be ready, willing and then follow through by throwing overboard that money in order to save our boat.
Having used it to commune with God (as Paul gave thanks and broke the bread before the others, as in the Lord's Supper), we must cast our bread upon the waters, trusting it will come back to us after many days. The storm will pass, we will arrive at land, and then we shall find what we gave up and even more.
Paul's situation reveals this truth.
Although their ship crashed upon an unknown island (Malta), God used Paul to bring the Gospel to them, to heal their sick, including their leader's father (Acts 28:1-9).
For this, their people gave Paul and his companions everything they needed for the journey, and more!
They also honored us with many honors, and when we sailed, they put on board the things that we needed. (Acts 28:10)
They had given up all hope, casting their food upon the waters, but in many days it returned to them greatly multipled.
Don't be afraid, but trust Yahweh: for He has promised to give back. Show your faith in Him by not holding onto what is dear to your natural life—your money—but rather freely give in order to preserve your life in times of storms and troubles. He will save you and bring you back what you released, multiplied!
Yahweh knows all things, what's to come and what we should do to bring about the best end to each situation.
Because He is omniscient, knowing all things, we can learn to depend upon Him, to trust Him in hard situations.
No matter how difficult things may seem, knowing He knows the end will allow us to calmly do as He says.
As we cast overboard what we believe is necessary for our very life, we will gain so much more in return, through His chosen vessels.
Yahweh is more gracious than we can imagine, but we can learn Him to be so by trusting Him and putting works with that faith.
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
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8It happened that the father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery. Paul entered in to him, prayed, and laying his hands on him, healed him. 9Then when this was done, the rest also who had diseases in the island came, and were cured. 10They also honored us with many honors, and when we sailed, they put on board the things that we needed. (Acts 28:8-10)