Let me start off by saying good morning to everyone. I want to thank those of you who pray, call and visit, Donna and I. I also do not want to neglect to give praise to where it belongs for being able to be at church one more Sunday and having the ability to bring one more devotion, and that praise belongs to my Lord and Savior, who sees me through second by second of each day.
What would it take to shake your world? Are you the type that only believes what they can see, hear, touch, feel or smell? Have you ever stopped to think just how grounded in God you were? Do you have the relationship that is "required", and the knowledge and wisdom needed to be fully anchored in and to God, or are you just held down by a few misinterpreted verses and a lot of speculation? Do you really know the difference in these two questions? I am not trying to question the salvation of anyone or treat you like children, but I learned a long time ago not to "think" I know the answers to these questions. I am trying to make sure that you know that you know, the difference, because the difference is as real and as important as where we will spend eternity, heaven or hell.
In the book of Acts we read how Paul began his 2000 mile trip to Rome from Caesarea. To avoid the open seas, the ship followed the coastline. At Myra, Paul was put on a vessel bound for Italy. It arrived with difficulty at Cnidus, then went to Crete, landing at the port of Fair Havens. The next stop was Phoenix, but the ship was blown south around the island of Cauda, then drifted for two weeks until it was shipwrecked on the island of Malta. In chapter 28 of Acts we read how the residents of this island built a fire for the wet survivors of the swim from the shipwrecked boat to the shore. Paul gathered wood for the fire and in doing so, was bit by a deadly snake. Those who saw this "knew" Paul would surely die. When Paul shook off the snake and continued as if nothing had happened, the witnesses again "knew" Paul was a god. But Paul had a relationship with The God of the angel that had appeared to him on the boat before the shipwreck, in chapter 27, that had told Paul, "Don't be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What's more, God in His goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you. So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as He said." Paul was anchored to the God who can. Not held down by the gods who cannot.
Many of us are like the residents of this island. We have seen something amazing, or been told something astonishing, and because so-in-so said it, or did it, it has to be so. We will stand in line at the super market and read the National Enquire and talk for days about what we read and how it has to be true, but we don't want to pick up God's Word and read it, because it is just unbelievable. We have time to read the newspaper from cover to cover, catch the news for the forth or fifth time today, do a crossword puzzle, play a video game and everyone knows we cannot miss an episode of CSI, but we would rather have a root canal than read God's Word, (which is how God primarily speaks to us today) for even 30 minutes a day. We know just enough to be held down by "religion", but are not anchored in the God of life when the real storms come along.
My point is this, if you have not weathered storms in life yet, they are coming. If you are in a storm now, call on God for help. And if all is well for you, I guarantee you know someone in a storm or that has just been through one that could use your brotherly or sisterly love and support to help them through. If all is going well for you, it is the best time for you to do some growing in the faith to prepare you for a storm, yours or someone else's. John 16:33 says, "I have told you all of this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." If you do not have this peace, you should ask yourself if you are anchored in God, or just held down by man's rules, rhetoric and false teaching.
Remember: Knowing the difference of being anchored to THE ROCK, and being held down and back by the rock of sin, is the difference between heaven and hell.
Until next time, please pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you.
Love in CHRIST,
Bethel Baptist Church