Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
Have there been many disappointments and setbacks during 2019?
Most of us, if not each of us, will have been confronted with more than one – but how do we handle these, and can we learn important lessons that may help us in 2020?
It is often easier to face a setback or problem when it is your mistake – but what do we do when it is not our fault? Sometimes other people make foolish decisions – which can affect us seriously.
Paul always wanted to go to Rome – and he got to Rome – but as a prisoner of the Roman Empire – and in ACTS Chapter 27 we have the account of his journey.
The weather was not good for such sailing – it was the season of probable storms. Paul told these people what God had revealed to him and it was ignored or rejected.
They were so concerned about the grain – their commercial interests.
Acts 27 verse 41 - “The ship struck a reef and ran aground. As it was repeatedly smashed by the force of the storm’s waves, the ship began to break apart.”
What causes people to make such poor choices that lead to disappointments and setbacks and storms – in business – economics – government – politics – education – morality – in every area of life?
The simple yet complex answer is sin but how does sin manifest itself and how can these insights from the Word of god help us in these next next weeks and months?
When we listen to ungodly advice the consequences will be serious and sometimes disastrous. .
Acts 27 verses 9,10 - “Much time had been lost, and day of Fasting has passed so by now it had become dangerous to sail because of the fall weather. So, Paul warned the sailors with this advice, “Men, I have perceived that our voyage is going to be disastrous. If we sail now, we’ll lose the cargo, and the ship, and likely our own lives too.”
Acts 27 verse 11 – “But the Roman officer in charge of the prisoners didn’t listen to Paul. Instead he followed the advice of the pilot and owner of the ship.”
Have we ever been given bad advice? Have the experts who advise us or advise Governments always been right?
When we copy the crowd or go along with the crowd that can spell trouble too.
Acts 27 verse 12 - “Then the crew decided that they should go ahead and sail up the coast of Crete because the majority wanted to spend the winter in Phoenix and it had a nice harbour.”
The majority is often wrong – remember when Moses sent the spies into the Promised Land – the majority was so wrong. Joshua and Caleb were two against twelve – and they proved to be right on that occasion.
There are occasions too when we count on circumstances instead of Jesus Christ – instead of Jesus.
Even when it looks good it does not mean that it is going to be all right.
Acts 27 verse 13 – “When a gentle wind began to blow from the south, the crew thought they had obtained what they wanted and their plan would work. So they pulled up the anchor and sailed as close as possible to the shoreline of Crete.”
Sometimes we see what we want in life – and when we go for it – it may be setting us up for a shipwreck.
O it feels good – so it must be good!
O it looks all right so surely it must be all right!
Acts 27 verse 14 - “But shortly afterward, the weather changed suddenly and a wind of hurricane force came out of the Northeast and blew the ship out to sea.”
What do I need to know about storms? Read Acts Chapter 27 and note these four points, being aware of the dangers.
We listen to ungodly unwise advice – or we go along with the crowd.
We look at the circumstances and if the circumstances appear favourable we think the outcome will probably be favourable – and in this sea journey the consequences were disastrous.
There can be occasions when we see what we want in life – and we go for it – without the guidance and direction and support and help of God.
“Almighty God – when we have to make choices – choices which will influence our future – choices which should never be made lightly or rashly or unadvisedly – help us. Teach us these basic lessons as we read this passage. Risen and living Jesus – thank you for such practical advice being so readily available. Amen”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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