Teaching Session 1

Teaching Session 2

Teaching Session 3


Devotion

In Acts 27, we read about the apostle Paul.  He is imprisoned and is on a ship that is transporting prisoners to Rome, where Paul will stand trial before Caesar.  They have been in a storm that has lasted 2 weeks.  The Roman guards are worried.  They are sure they are all going to die.  They bring the lifeboat on board, tie ropes around the ships hull, hoping to hold the ship together.  Man, they are doing everything in their power to make sure this ship remains intact.  

Man, can you imagine being in a wooden ship in a storm that has lasted 2 weeks already, a storm so fierce that the stars and the sun aren't seen for days? That's scary stuff.

Now, this is not just a ship transporting prisoners.  This is a cargo ship, and they have stopped in many ports to pick up and sell cargo.  But along the way, this storm has gotten so fierce they have to start unloading the ship's tackle and some of the cargo.  

So, everyone is freaking out and losing hope, and Paul tells them “there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.”  He tells them the ship will run aground on an island. 

They are taking him to a trial that may lead to his death, and he is concerned for them.  They are all afraid, and some of the sailors try to sneak away on the lifeboat.  Paul says, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”  And verses 31 and 32 tell us they cut the ropes away from the lifeboat and let it go.  

Finally, the captain, sailors, centurion, and soldiers are listening to this proven man of God.    

So, the ship nears land but starts to fall apart.  Remember, Paul has told them they will all survive.  But the solders still doubt and think if they can swim for land, they will make it.  But they can't let the prisoners escape, right, or they themselves will face a death sentence, so they decide to kill the prisoners.  

Now, Paul had made friends with Julius, the centurion guarding him, and Julius wants to save Paul's life, so he instead orders everyone who can swim to jump overboard and head to land, and he tells everyone who can't swim to take a piece of the ship and use it to float to shore.  Notice, the ship had to be broken for people to survive.  The vessel carrying them had to be sacrificed in order to save them.  Sound familiar?  That's what Jesus did for you, friend.  He was sacrificed in order to save you.

The owner of the ship, the captain, the centurion, they all thought they knew how to sail this ship and get it safely to Rome.  But in the midst of the storm, it all fell apart around them, and they were trying to grab hold of anything they could think of to save themselves.  Only God could carry them safely to shore.  They had to let go of their plan, and let God hold them.  

That's life, friend.  We have to let go of our trials on a daily basis and let God hold us.  He knows the plan for our lives.  He wrote our stories from beginning to end.  Our futures are a memory to him.  He's already there.  We have to let go and let God lead us through the storms we face, trusting him to get us to the other side.

 

 

 

 

Lyrics

(Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, Matthew West)

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

About the Song

“I was out with my students surfing in Florida once and we were just learning how to get up and how to do this thing. I never mastered it, but when I got the closest to getting on the board a wave hit me and I went rolling.  I rolled so many times that I realized I didn’t know where up was. I couldn’t figure out where the air was. The light was going everywhere and that was a terrifying feeling of no control (absolutely no control). I think when life’s storm hits us, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something we can grab onto and steady ourselves…we may even look at our faith that way. I need to grab onto God and steady myself, but what I’m finding even in our recent storm of life with our little girl Hope, and all the things that she’s been through medically, is that I just can’t grab a hold of something. What I’ve got to understand is that God is taking a hold of me. Instead of being the ‘fixer Daddy’ that grabs a hold of whatever I can and makes this work, I’ve got to understand that I’m already in His hands. I’m already being held and I’m already in His control and in His protection, even in the chaos. This song, to me, reminds me that I am being held by Him. As crazy as it is when I look around me, I’ve got to rest in that truth.”

Scripture

  • Isaiah 41:10
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Hebrews 4:16
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