Props are those things in life that give us support and take care of our needs. Example: the story of Martin and Gracia Burnham who were held hostage for more than a year. Gracia discovered that she was never out of God’s protective hand even in the worst of situations.
God’s protective hand
Jesus told His disciples:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.(John 10:27-29)
As we saw in our lesson today, nothing could take Paul out of God’s protective hand. The Romans couldn’t do it. The sailors couldn’t do it. The centurion couldn’t do it. The storm couldn’t do it. The sea couldn’t do it. The snake couldn’t do it. The chained confinement in Rome couldn’t do it. And, Paul experienced all those not-so-comfortable things while in God’s protective hand.
But, he also enjoyed the blessings of his trust in the Lord. All along the journey to Rome and in Rome, nothing could take Paul out of God’s protective hand.
He got to tell about Jesus to governors, kings, and high ranking officials.
Friends stuck to him like glue as he set foot on the ship for Rome.
The ship held together in the raging storm for 2 weeks!
He got a word from the Lord not just for him but for everyone.
The centurion respected him and spared his life.
All those onboard the sinking ship were saved.
Paul got to see God perform lots of miracles on the island of Malta.
Many brothers in Christ whom he had never met joined him on his travel by foot to Rome.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
Nothing you do or that anyone does to you—can ever separate you from the love of God. No one and no thing can ever take you out of God’s protective hand.
Our adventure is with Jesus.
Christianity is Christ! It’s not a lifestyle or rules of conduct. It’s not a society whose members were initiated by the sprinkling or covering of water. We are called first and foremost to a relationship with a Person—Jesus Christ.
God’s plan for your life is simple: Follow His Son. But, you won’t follow someone you don’t trust. You can’t trust someone you don’t know, and you cannot know Christ apart from His Word. (Rebecca Carrell, heartstrongfaith.com)
That’s why we study the Bible. We have not physically beheld the risen Christ as the apostles did. We must see Him through eyes of faith and allow the gospels to leap off the page revealing our Lord. And, Jesus isn’t just in the gospels. You have seen repeatedly how Jesus was involved in everyone’s lives throughout the book of Acts.
I think the last few chapters of Acts are key for every believer to carefully study. Luke records from an eyewitness perspective how a Christian (Paul) can follow Christ through the ups and downs of life and see how God is continually there helping him or her. From the moment Paul heard the words, “I am Jesus,” he had one master. He was convinced and committed. But, that didn’t protect him from the dangers and hardships of life. He still felt fear and hunger. At other times, he was prosperous, and life was going smoothly. The key for him was being obedient to his Lord and recognizing the Holy Spirit’s working in his life and turning things that looked bad for him into blessings for him and for others. Paul continually gave praise to God for the Holy Spirit Hot Spots in his life.
We saw his example and realized that we can do that just as much as he could. Obedience. Take the next step that God provides, whether it matches what you planned or not. And, then give Him the praise and thanksgiving for the results. It’s really not that hard in theory. But, it is so hard in practice! Yet, we are not ever alone to do this life by ourselves. Jesus was with Paul continually. He is with us continually. Our job is to live in daily dependence on Him and take the next step that He opens for us.
The Holy Spirit’s transforming power works through every situation and opportunity we face daily. It’s lifelong work. But, oh so worth it. Adventure with Jesus is the greatest adventure you could ever take. With the most rewarding results.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His Spirit’s transforming power. And say yes to a life of adventure with Him!
I’m Melanie Newton, and you’ve been listening to Satisfied Series 7. I hope you will join me for another series and continue to be satisfied by His love.