Friday, March 06, 2009

"Surviving the Shipwrecks of Life" by Guest Blogger, Pastor Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie is the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA. He lost his 33 year old son about 2 months after we lost Joey, and his heartfelt and Christ-centered blog has been my daily devotional for the past seven months. Today's was especially helpful to me, and his words have so much credibility to me because he is going thru what we are going thru.

Surviving the Shipwrecks of Life

"The God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me"Acts 27:23

We all have hardships, tragedies, trials, and shipwrecks in life. The question is, how do you survive them? How do you get through them?I know, for some people, this is not a popular thing to say. They are seeking to live "their best life now" and reject the idea of suffering. But no less than the apostle Paul had quite a bit of suffering as he followed hard after Christ.You think you have had a hard day? Listen to this autobiographical statement from the great apostle:

I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NLT).

So how did he get through his shipwreck? I've already pointed out two things:
God was with him.
He belonged to God.

He was doing the will of God
The third reason why Paul could be comforted in the midst of the storm was the fact that he was doing the Lord's will. Essentially, he was "on business for God." Remember when the tempest was raging and Angel of the Lord appeared to Paul to reassure him. Then Paul said to all those on board that storm-tossed vessel, "The God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me" (Acts 27:23 NLT). God told Paul that he was to testify of him in Rome, so Paul could go forth with the assurance that God was with him.

The same is true in our service to the Lord as well. We will accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. We are not necessarily assured of smooth sailing, but always assured of a safe arrival. We can know this–as long as God has a work for us to do, we will be here to do it. God will preserve us to do it. And when that work is done, it is done, and we will go to heaven. Not too soon and not too late.


Anonymous said...

what a blessing to have this devotional today.

By the way, maybe we should all visit you in May at Pungo. Check this out:

Jaimers said...

Well that changed my days attitude quite quickly..I needed some perspective. I am complaining about my life and it doesn't even compare to the sufferings others have been through.

Jeri said...

Like Jaime says. It really changes ones perspective. Many have not and will not go through a fraction of what Paul suffered for Christ. Thanks for sharing that Karen.

Liza on Maui said...

a very touching photo (I meant to post this comment earlier..)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful reminder of our God's faithfulness everywhere, all the time! I'm so glad to find your new blog and thank you so much for posting this. I pray this scripture referenced flashes before me whenever I am struggling in a situation or am being attacked with fear and doubt... Or when I need to share it with another who is struggling! You are amazing & I love you!