“The other day,” Stan commented one morning, “I was reading in the Book of Acts about what happened to the apostle Paul when he was on his way to Rome.”
“Is that when he had appealed to be heard by Caesar and was put on a ship to go to Rome, but it was shipwrecked on the way?”
“Yeah,” Stan replied, “that’s the story. And as is apt to happen whenever I read the Bible with my spiritual eyes open, I saw an important lesson for me and my faith walk.”
“Being shipwrecked?” I said. “What’s the lesson in that: don’t be shipwrecked?”
“Well,” Stan replied, “not being shipwrecked certainly is a good lesson, but in this instance something happened before the shipwreck that I see as important.”
“Okay,” I said, “you’ve got my attention. What’s important for you about that story that might be important for me?”
“The ship was being tossed about by a violent storm,” Stan replied. “Not unlike my life when I feel I’m being tossed about, out of control.”
“The people on the ship started throwing overboard everything that was keeping them and the ship from heading for the beach which would be a safe harbor from the storm.”
“Throwing stuff overboard so they could head for the beach,” I replied. “That has an application for you?”
“Sure does,” Stan said. “It seems to me that’s what I’m supposed to do with the stuff in my life that’s keeping me from getting to the safe harbor of God’s presence.”
“Throw it overboard?”
“Exactly!” Stan replied. “When I sense I’m being tossed about without any clear direction, I am to get rid of all of the stuff that’s in the way of getting to where God wants me to be.”
“And where’s that?”
“That’s up to Him,” Stan replied. “My role is to get rid of the stuff that’s keeping me from getting there.”
“Sounds kind of like discipleship,” I said.
“In what way?”
“Well,” I replied, “denying self would be like getting rid of the stuff, taking up what God has for me to take up would be like moving towards the beach after I have gotten rid of the stuff, and following Him would be like following Him into the safe harbor of His presence, both for eternity and for this side of eternity.”
“I think you got it, my friend,” Stan said with a smile. “Throw the stuff overboard!”
Bible verses to consider:
The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo; and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. Acts of the Apostles 27:18-19.
And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders, and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach. Acts of the Apostles 27:40.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:29.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed, a life that will be in your calm presence forever. Thank you, too, for the calm presence you provide on this side of eternity if I will only seek what you have for me. I confess that too often I do not seek your presence because I choose to not get rid of the stuff in my life that’s in the way. Please forgive that foolish approach in living this life you have given to me. And please, Father, help me to follow every step of your lead in getting rid of all that is in the way of being completely yours in every aspect of my being. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you know you will spend eternity in God’s calm presence when your time here is completed because you have accepted His free and gracious provision for that? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in getting rid of the stuff on this side of eternity — the stuff that keeps you from drawing ever closer to Him and His comforting presence? If you sense the need to get rid of stuff that’s holding you back from the presence He has for you, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?
Forward this to a friend: Do you know people you think would benefit from this devotional? If so, why not forward it and open them to being a part of the conversation between Stan and S. Tory Teller?