Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20: Acts 27

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 27. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Talk about the perfect storm, that ship was at the mercy of the weather! Well, more like at the mercy of God. Here’s a summary of the voyage:
  • Paul was put on a ship that sailed from the Israeli coast to the southwest corner of modern Turkey.
  • There the Centurion took him on another ship that was heading for Italy but the heavy winds required a reroute to the island of Crete.
  • After spending some time there they sailed along the south of the island but were blown way out into the open sea.
  • Eventually, they shipwrecked on a sand bar off an island named Malta. That island is south of Sicily which is part of modern Italy (you know, that island with the volcano).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Did you notice how Paul acted during the journey? He encouraged the crew even though they previously didn’t heed his advice. He assured them that all 276 people on board wouldn’t lose a single hair from their head. Paul’s encouragement must have made an impact on the Centurion who, in response, forbade his soldiers to kill the prisoners. Through God’s involvement in his life, we see that Paul, once discouraged by his circumstances, became an encouragement to others during difficult times.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • In what ways could you be an encouragement to people going through difficult times? Are there ways that you could provide for their needs or give them a chance to escape for a while? Parents who care for a disabled child or are simply overwhelmed with parenting need a night off, for example.
  • Keep your heart and mind open for the people God brings into your life. Jesus had compassion on the sick and hurting people he met. If you’re a Christian (which means "Little Christ") then this kind of compassion is what you’re about. When life is tough, ask God for encouragement so that you can be able to encourage others going through tough times.