Preparing My Heart
I wonder why God wants us to know this account. Surely He has more in mind than inspiring us with a great story that has some unanticipated turns. However, if all He intends for the story is to inspire and uplift us, I certainly could use the lift and the inspiration!
Then again, it seems likely that He wants this life example to reassure me of His nearness and His sovereignty at all times. He wants to boost my faith, strengthen my gratefulness, and whet my appetite for service. (Right?)
Making the Bible Personal
What should be my first “instinct” when I experience “shipwreck” in life?
Is my faith of sufficient strength to give thanks in adverse circumstances?
How do I handle others’ erroneous first impressions of me?
What do I do in the limelight?
How am I supposed to receive service from others?
Do I want a servant’s heart within me?
Reviewing Basic Truths
God does as He promises to do.
Kindness and generosity can come from unexpected and unlikely sources.
God’s gifts are to be exercised for His glory and the benefit of others.
A negative change in plans or circumstances shouldn’t dim my Gospel light.
Applying God’s Word to Me
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Up and down, up and down — that’s how Paul’s ship fared in the storm. It finally succumbed and went down, in pieces.
Up and down, up and down — that’s how Paul’s “fortunes” seemed to go. His ship survived many stormy days, then wrecked near land. He survived the deadly plans of the soldiers, only to be cast into the tempestuous sea. He survived the catastrophic shipwreck…and was bitten by a venomous snake. He suffered no harm from the serpent, then…
Up and down, up and down — that’s how Paul’s emotions and outlook fared as well. Absolutely not! The man was more steady and stable than that, as we learn from his later testimony:
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us…” (2 Corinthians 4:16,17).
How did Paul keep his bearings during such tumult and changing “fortunes”? I. Need. To. Know!
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7).
Where do I find my stability after I have lost it? Where do I get my strength when it weakens and fails? How do I rekindle my hope after it goes out in me? Who steadies my faith when life leaves it shaken and quivering?
This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Lesson. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Revival in the Growing Church.