Monday, April 25, 2016

God Orders Our Steps

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

In preparing for a mission trip to Africa, I’ve been reading about Paul’s missionary journeys. I’m reminded how differently we will travel than he did. We will board a plane and in about 30 hours, we’ll be at our destination. He, on the other hand, spent weeks aboard a ship to reach his destination. That’s quite a difference!

One thing hasn’t changed, though - Not everything goes smoothly on a mission trip! Take Paul’s trip that we read about in Acts 27. A group of 276 men (Paul, Julius the Centurion, the Roman soldiers, the ship owner, the captain, the sailors and other prisoners) set sail from the Fair Havens port to the Phoenix harbor on the island of Crete, a mere 40 miles away.

It was an epic voyage to say the least. A terrible storm sent them off coarse. In order to stay afloat, they had to jettison their cargo, equipment, and food. Fourteen days later, while maneuvering into an inlet, they ran aground on a sandbar. The ship was torn apart. All of those onboard either swam or floated on pieces of the ship’s debris to get to shore. 

Nothing like that has ever happened on any of the mission trips I’ve been on. THANK GOD FOR THAT! However, I have experienced plane changes, missed connections, weather delays, location detours, transport substitutions, and other obstacles. 

When those kind of things happen, rather than become frustrated and upset about itinerary modifications and loss of time, I’ve asked our group to do what Paul did… 

Pray and continue believing God’s promise
Paul accepted the Lord’s message of their safe delivery with faith. His certainty in God’s word provided encouragement to his fellow travelers [see Acts 27:23-35].

Worship and give thanks to God
Paul publicly acknowledged God was the source of their provision. With a thankful heart, he honored and magnified the Lord [see Acts 27:35].

Be a witness to unbelievers
Paul’s confidence was a sharp contrast to the distressed men on the ship who served pagan gods. 

Missionary work is not an exact science. We make our plans and set our itinerary, but God orders our steps!

He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heaven and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.  What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation. Psalm 107:25-32 

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