Tag Archives: Verses

How Paul Listened and Trusted God

So, we left off when Paul stood in front of King Agrippa and shared his story. Now, Paul is setting sail for Rome to go in front of Nero. Since that is what he appealed for.

On his journey to Rome, they had come across a storm. Paul even predicted the storm in Acts 27:10 “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.” However, nobody wanted to listen to Paul and they set sail directly into the storm.

However, what happens next is pretty awesome.

Paul tells them that they should have listened to him, but lives would be spared. “But now I urge you to keep your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to 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.” (Acts 27:22-25).

The ship does wreck, but everyone does reach land safely. Only because Paul trusted the Lord, and he listened.

He trusted. 

I want to take a moment to acknowledge that trusting in God is a lot easier said than done. As humans, we want proof that something exists. We want immediate answers, and some of us (myself included) wants direct communication with God like the angel coming to Paul.

Prayer is communication, but we don’t always get an immediate response. It’s like playing phone tag with someone for about a week before you actually get a hold of that person.

However, prayer is essential. Trusting in God is essential. Without faith, we are nothing. Trusting in the unseen is basically what defines faith. I’ve made this argument before, and I’ll make it again.

We can’t see the wind, but we can feel it. We can see the effects wind has on the trees, us, the leaves.

We can’t see our internal organs, but we know they’re there. We know that they are functioning to keep us alive and breathing.

Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there and that we shouldn’t trust in it.

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

Paul and his crew were in a crisis. But Paul knew what to do like it was second nature, because he trusted in God. Paul was walking by faith. I can honestly say that with prayer, and reading the word, knowing what to do when life gets you down will become second nature.

God doesn’t create our downfalls, he uses them for the better. He uses them so that we can know Him and trust Him. In the midst of tragedy, there is always something beautiful that can be taken from it. However, our eyes have to be open and we have to be awake if we want to take that beauty from the tragedy.

Are your eyes open? Do you trust in Him?

Photo by Nathan Pirkle on Unsplash

 

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Luke 15: The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15 has a few good parables about the lost and found. However, the parable of the Lost Son is my favorite because not only is it about the lost and found, but it’s about forgiveness too.

A father with two sons who is working on a farm. One of the sons wanted his inheritance early so he asked his father for it. His father gave it to him, and the son took off. Spending each and everything he had. Spending his entire inheritance and throwing it away on foolish things.

A famine hit and he had no choice but to go home. He was full of shame. He was full of so much shame he was willing to work for his father as a servant. However, the exact opposite happened. The father was happy he was back and threw a giant feast in his honor.

The other brother-the one that was loyal to his father became angry when he heard that his brother had returned, maybe even a bit jealous. Luke 15:29-30 he says: “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” 

So what does the bible say about jealousy?

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

“Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.” Job 5:2

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.” Mark 7:21-22

Basically, jealousy and envy is dangerous to the heart and soul. It is something we must not carry in our hearts because it represents hate. As I’ve mentioned before on the Sermon of the Mount part One, hating someone is just as bad as killing them.

The son was loyal and received nothing. Yet the brother was selfish and received everything. That sure does sound like jealousy to me. His father replies back in Luke 15:31-32: “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

It wasn’t so much that the father thought that the selfish brother was better than the loyal brother, but rather the selfish brother realized what he did was wrong and that he sinned. He wanted forgiveness. The only reason the father had killed a fattened calf was because it was a celebration that the lost son was no longer lost.

Sometimes, we have to learn lessons the hard way before we truly understand God and who he is. It might take just one conviction, or a thousand. That’s exactly what this son was going through.

Sometimes, we have a deeper understanding of something if we learn it the hard way. I know I had to learn some things the hard way, and I’m still suffering. This journey isn’t easy for me. I don’t try to act like I know everything about the bible and everything about the stories within, I just interpret them to the best of my ability and I pray about it and discuss what I think the message is behind it.

Luke 1: The Prophecy of Two People: One saying Yes, One saying No

Luke 1 is a very interesting chapter. Not only because the angel appeared to Mary, but some other key people throughout this story.

Zechariah was a priest in the Abijah division. He went into the temple to burn incense, not knowing that his life would be changed drastically.

The angel, Gabriel (the same angel that appeared to Mary) appeared to him, and said that  even though in their old age, their prayer was going to be answered-not for their good, but for God’s good. Elizabeth (Zechariah’s wife) was going to be with child, and the angel gave him specific instructions:

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” Luke 1: 13-15

Let’s pause this story a moment and fast forward 6 months later. Mary wasn’t even married to Joseph yet before Gabriel appeared. Let’s look and see at what the angel said to Mary:

“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1: 30-33.

Mary wasn’t scared and she didn’t question the angel’s instructions, rather she had no idea how because she was a virgin, and she wasn’t wed yet. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit. When things seem impossible, they aren’t. That is how Mary became pregnant, through the Holy Spirit.

So, we have two women. One married, one not. Both pregnant. Both had angels appear to them. So what is the difference?

If we go back to Elizabeth and Zechariah, we find out that Zechariah didn’t believe Gabriel. In fact, he questioned the possibility of God and both him and Elizabeth’s age.

“Zechariah asked the angel, How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Luke 1: 18

Because Zechariah had doubt, he was punished. Luke 1:19 says this: “The angel said to him, I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

For 9 months, Zechariah couldn’t speak. When Elizabeth finally gave birth, he realized that God wasn’t playing around. He even wanted to name the child after him but Elizabeth basically said no. Elizabeth followed God’s commands when the time came. When Zechariah realized this, he named the child John and he was able to speak again.

So what does all this mean? God gave us the concept of free will. Meaning we can do what we want to do, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences and that’s exactly what happened in the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah. Under his own free will, Zechariah chose not to believe the angel, but because he chose not to believe the angel, he was punished.

Mary didn’t have that problem, she believed the angel. Her and Joseph were fine. She just wasn’t sure how it was possible because she was a virgin. When Zechariah questioned the angel on how can I be sure of this, he was basically asking “What proof do you have that you are an angel of God? It’s not possible because we are of old age.”

It’s very important that we listen to God and to follow his Word. It’s important that we obey him because God isn’t a selfish God. Rather, he gives us what we need, when we need it. Not when we want it. God has His own plan for us, we just have to be patient. We have to pray, and we have to listen. If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do next, I encourage you to pray. I’ll be praying for you too. I also encourage you to read His word because that will provide some insight in to what you should be doing.

**all verses come from the NIV translation**