When I look back at my life and remember all the stupid things that I have done, I realize, statistically speaking that is, that I probably shouldn’t be here. I understand that it is only because of the grace and mercy of a loving God that I am. So many others that I associated with in the past are gone; dead or in prison. Accidents, drug overdoses, suicides, and other circumstances have taken the lives of many who walked the same road that I traveled for many years. And I know that there are some of you reading this right now who know that if it wasn’t for God you too would have died or would be in prison.
10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
Paul tells them not to sail: How many can say that they always listen to wise counsel? I could have saved myself a lot of the grief if I had just listened to those who tried to teach me in my life.
11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.
Sounds like the men that were with Paul were a lot like me, they didn’t listen either and they sailed right into the biggest storm of their lives.
18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. 19 On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. 20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
They tried get rid of all the excessive weight they had taken aboard by throwing it into the sea. Let me tell you from experience, there’s nothing like a violent storm to cause you to start rethinking your priorities. Regardless of all their efforts the ship was still destroyed, but they made it to land, barely, on the broken pieces of the ship.
Years ago after deciding I was going to live life on my terms, do things my way, plot my own course and ignore the way that I had been brought up to follow, I found my life wrecked in the seas of sin. Laying in a hospital bed with a broken back from a motorcycle accident, addicted to drugs and alcohol, no job, no home, and no hope: but then came Jesus. Just like the day Lazarus lay dead in the tomb and all around was hopelessness and in despair: but then came Jesus! God’s grace can reach us in the darkest tomb, in our moment of hopelessness, and bring us back from the storm not matter how much wreckage we have caused. He can bring us ashore. Thank you Jesus!
I can feel the Holy Ghost just washing over me right now! Someone reading this ought to lift your hands to God right now and say, I’m coming ashore! In the name of Jesus you’re going to make it! You may be broken, but you’re going to make it! You may be wounded, but keep paddling! You may be bleeding and crying, but keep swimming! You may not understand what you’re going through, you might be confused and feeling rejected, but hold on, Jesus is coming!
44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
If you've been through the storm, you need to lift up your hands right now and thank God that He brought you through! It should have killed you, but you made it! For a lot us the storm was caused by our own choices, we had everything we needed to avoid it, but we ignored the forecast, we disregarded the obvious signs and the advice of wiser men, but God had mercy on us and we made it! We should have drowned, we shouldn’t be here, our poor choices should have destroyed us, but by the grace and mercy of the loving hand of God, we made it through the storm!
Hey Satan! Guess what? I’m still here! I've got a testimony of the power of God! I've been saved by His grace! Baptized int eh name of Jesus into His death and given a new life! I've received the resurrecting power through the infilling of the Holy Ghost and I’m coming to tear your kingdom down!
Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him.
There are people that are watching, that have known me for years and they probably don’t expect me to make it. They are waiting for the serpent to latch on and kill me, they may even rejoice when they see me going through hardships and trials, so I say, 'keep watching'! The people on the shore were watching for Paul to swell up and fall out dead, they had seen it happen before. He should have swollen or fallen down suddenly, but he did not!
Seven years ago I came around a corner on my motorcycle, drunk and stoned, going way to fast and I lost my lane and went head on into a minivan. Medical science says I should be dead or paralyzed, every natural circumstance says I shouldn’t have made it, it should have killed me, maybe I should be in a mental institution or still strung out on drugs, mad at God and mad at the world, but I’m back in church, filled with the Holy Ghost, and I’m living for my Lord!
I want to tell somebody today, just keep swimming, and keep fighting the storm! Regardless of what others may say, regardless of what the doctor says, or what the financial experts say, God will have the final say if you stay the course! Keep swimming! This is no place to throw your hands up and sink to the bottom. Keep swimming and when God gets through blessing you, you won’t even look like you’ve been through a storm.
I can hear your doubt, “but you don’t understand, I’m going through hell with this marriage, with this job, this sickness, this financial struggle.”
Oh Lord I feel the Holy Ghost, you should be shouting right now! You just spoke the words of your victory, “You’re going through!” You just prophetically spoke your own victory!
David said, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”
Remember, you’re not the only one who has ever walked through the fire. The bible tells us about three young Hebrew boys who walked through the fire, and when they came out the other side the only evidence that they had been through the fire was they were liberated from their bondage. Bondage is the things that the enemy puts on us, and in the fire they get burned off!
They came out of the fire unharmed, their clothes were not burnt, their hair was not singed, and there was not even the smell of smoke on them. It should have killed them: Some have tried to say that God just took the heat out of the fire, well somebody should have told the soldiers that threw them in about that, because the bible says it killed them. I’m telling you that God doesn’t always take the heat out of the fire, but he will walk with you through it.
I shouldn’t be here right now, if the devil had his way I’d be strung out on drugs, or in a mental institution or in some hospital room, or prison, but I’m here today and I’m telling you, If you’ll keep your faith in God, God is going to bring you ashore.
I’m working on my testimony, so that sometimes means that I’m in the middle of a test.
Now back to Paul, the Word says, that Paul shook off the beast. It wasn’t’ a gentle wave of his hand, he didn’t gently coax it and say, “Please get off of me, please remove your fangs from my skin.” No! He shook it off into the fire!
There are some things that you can just pray about and ask God to take away, but there are some things that you must become violent, and aggressive against. “: The Kingdom of God is at hand and the violent take it by force.”
Some things you have to shake loose, you must shake like your life depends on it, because it does!
Shake your fear loose, shake your depression loose, shake your addiction loose, shake that spirit of hopelessness and suicide loose, shake that spirit of lust and perversion loose, shake your sickness and shake your dead powerless religion loose. Shake it off for your family, shake for your health, shake for your mind, and shake for your ministry.
But shaking is not all there is to it, you need to be close to the fire. There are a lot of people who shake, they go through the motions of being a Christian, but they do not have the fire. In fact many think that we’re old fashioned and out touch with reality if we talk about the Holy Ghost and fire, but I still believe that the only thing that can destroy the devil's power is the fire of God.
We still serve a God that answers by Fire. Paul shook that viper off into the Fire. You need to ask yourself, are you living close enough to the fire? Is there fire in your church? Is there fire in your home? It’s time to turn up the heat! I don’t have time to try and fit in, I’m fighting for my life. I’m fighting for my destiny, I’m fighting for my ministry, I’m fighting for my children and my grandchildren.
I know what it feels like to be ship wrecked, and I know what it feels like to be bitten by the serpent, but I also know what it feels like to shake that snake off into the fire.
I want to say to someone right now, you know it could have killed you, you know if the devil had his way you’d be dead, you know if some people had been able to carry out their intentions you would have drowned, but you’re still here, and you’re still here because God has a plan for your life, and a destiny and it’s not too late to fulfill it.
I pray you keep swimming. God Bless.