February 26 - Acts 27
RESPECT: A Roman centurion would need to be a fearsome leader. He expected absolute allegiance from his soldiers and perfect discipline. Yet check out this word search for 'centurion' on BibleGateway, and notice that everytime a Roman centurion deals with Christians, they do so with respect and humility. Today's chapter is no different: the centurion Julius gives his prisoner Paul tremendous privileges and kindness. As you go through your activities today, be thinking about the many reasons Christianity would be appealing to these centurions.
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU: We've already noticed that the Roman government officials demonstrate much more civility than do the 'God fearing' Jewish religious establishment. Yet Paul is still a prisoner, and ultimately this Roman government will take his life. In every situation where we see Paul interacting with the Romans, he does so with patience and kindness; in other words, he practices what he preaches. The Holy Spirit uses Paul's kind actions to help cause these potentially brutal captors into treating Paul with the same sort of respect and kindness he showed to them.
NO SUDDEN MIRACLES: Think back on previous sea-storm accounts in the Bible. Jonah comes right to mind, as does the story of Jesus sleeping through the storm, and then later walking on the water in the midst of a storm. In those accounts, the danger suddenly and miraculously abates through divine intervention. But in chapter 27, there is no such miracle. God is with the crew & passengers for sure; none of them were lost. Yet at the same time, God allows the storm to continue, the cargo to be lost, and the ship to be wrecked. Just because various storms continue to rage in your life, it's no indication that God has abandoned you.
Listen to the sermon on Training Yourself To Use Your Spiritual Gifts
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of land and sea whom you 'belong to.' (v23)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Even when it appears all is lost (v26 - nevertheless, we must run aground...), pray that God will preserve your faith and cause you to cling to His will.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: God gave the sailors bread in the midst of the storm (v34), and He desires to provide your daily needs as well.