Today's reading: Acts 27:13-38
As Paul and those accompanying him sail along Crete toward Rome, they are engulfed by a violent northeaster that threatens to rip their ship apart. The men are afraid and fearing for their lives. As the situation worsens, cargo is dumped into the sea, the ship’s tackle is thrown overboard, the men are afraid to the point they are unable to eat, and after numerous days of this hanging on, we're told in verse 20 that all hope of surviving the storm has been abandoned.
But then...Paul steps up and injects encouragement and hope into this dire situation. He urges all the men to "take heart," letting them know that the God of the universe is aware of their situation, that He is in control and that if they follow Paul's leading, God will protect each and every one of their lives. A few days later, Paul again rallies the men. He tells them to eat and reminds them of God’s promise of protection. Paul then continues to encourage the men through his actions—taking bread, publically praying and thanking God for His provision and then eating.
The example Paul provides for us in the middle of this life-threatening situation is excellent. The prominent lesson I took away from this account was the importance of caring for, and being an encouragement to, other people in and through all circumstances. I loved how even though Paul’s life was in danger and he was one of the lowest ranking people on the ship as a prisoner, he, nonetheless, steps forward and boldly takes on the task of "buoying up" the men who are going through this scary and dangerous situation with him by offering them hope and highlighting his faith in God through it all.
Are you an encourager? Who do you know that could use some "buoying up" today (family, coworker, classmate, neighbor, an acquaintance from church or school)? What words, actions and prayers can and will you offer to them? How does encouraging someone else draw you closer to God? Tami
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