Friends, we are heading to Chicago to board our flight to the island country of Malta in the Mediterranean. We covet your prayers for safe travel. We have a long layover in Vienna, Austria (I know, right?!) and hope to get out of the airport a few hours to at least see Old Town. Then we will be with the Parker’s, Missionaries to Malta, for the next three and a half weeks. While there, we will be teaching and sharing Revival By Design, a Biblical blueprint that will help a church prepare for the revival God wants to give. If we are not prepared to handle them then we will definitely lose them!
Did you know that Malta, which was formally called Melita in the New Testament, is the island where the Apostle Paul was bitten by a viper? There is a rich history of Christianity in this island country, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world! And it was brought by the Apostle Paul himself around A.D. 60.
He was being taken to Rome to stand trial, (along with some other political prisoners), and ultimately, eventually, he would become a martyr for the cause of Christ.
He was in the hands of a capable man. Julius was a centurion who was the commander of a cohort. A cohort is a band of soldiers between 400-600 men. This was a large ship and quite full! The end of the chapter tells us there were a total of 276 people on board.
“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” Acts 27:9-11 KJV.
Here is the dilemma: God had revealed to Paul that the weather was to become perilous and for them to stay where they were. Paul warned Julius, but do not forget that Paul is also a PRISONER. Julius was in quite a predicament. He had the experience of the pilot and captain in one ear, and this man of God in the other.
What they wanted to do doesn’t sound so bad. It would have only taken them a day to get to Phoenix and that didn’t seem like such a risk. It was a bigger town. It was close to Fair Havens and better protected from the weather. The sailors would be thrilled because there was more to do there.
But God said, “Stay. Abide.”
How many times do we go ahead and do what we want to do even though God says, “STAY.”
He wants us to wait, listen, and trust Him. But we insist on doing our own thing anyway.
So the ship sets sail.
“But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” Acts 27:14 KJV.
This wind was so strong that it had a name: Euroclydon. Things started happening quickly. The second day they begin to lighten the ship, throwing things overboard.
“On the third day, they threw the ships tackle overboard with their own hands.” Acts 27:19 NIV.
Now, they were getting rid of some of the ship’s gear. Desperation had set in. If only they had listened to Paul.
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Acts 10:20 NIV.
They were in trouble; big trouble. They should have listened. They should have stayed in Fair Havens to begin with but they didn’t. All hope was gone as far as they were concerned.
How many times have we all been in the same situation as the crew of this ship? How many of us, just like Julius, have rejected the voice of God and did things our own way, only to fail miserably?
Did God make us come crawling on our hands and knees begging Him to take us back? Never, and He doesn’t require it of these men either.
He shows mercy.
Paul stands before them and brings them good news. “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee…for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Acts 10:22-25 KJV.
Even after he gave them this great news, the storm grew worse and some of the men tried to abandon the ship. We may have done the same in a state of panic! But Paul tells Julius and the soldiers, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”
The next morning, Paul urged them to eat because it had been 14 days since they had begun fasting. They needed their strength.
He reminds them that God had promised that not a hair on their head would be harmed as long as they stayed in the ship!
After they had eaten, those 276 souls lightened the ship even more by throwing over the wheat.
Get rid of those things that would keep you from walking with God, that would pull you down or drag you under. A little hindrance, a stumbling block…nothing is worth losing your soul.
The ship began to break apart in the back and the prisoners and crew grabbed hold of pieces of debris and broken planks to swim to shore. Not one of them perished!
“And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” Acts 27:44 KJV.
Paul had been fasting, he was a man of prayer, and he had been shipwrecked two times previously. He trusted God when he heard His voice. He was strengthened by his time of prayer and fasting. God gave him wisdom to handle this situation and hold everything together.
Why else would a commander of an army trust a prisoner to give direction?
Only God would allow that to take place.
Paul brought the Gospel to the island of Malta all because of a shipwreck. “Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.” Acts 28:1, 2 NIV.
If you feel your life is a mess, that your shipwreck and chaos can never be put back together again, remember Paul. He brought the Gospel to an entire country because of a shipwreck!
Believe that today. There is safety in the ship. Trust Him with the storms of your life and watch His will unfold.
Would you pray for not only our safety but for anointing, wisdom and favor? We do not take these trips lightly, we appreciate everyone who helps support us and give these opportunities to share around the world the Good News that Jesus saves. Stay updated with our Faith Journey adventure here on the blog and Instagram! And yes, you can still donate to our missions journey via Paypal below. Blessings.