Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. Acts 27:25.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:
Now I urge you to keep up your courage. But how do you do that when you are in the midst of a storm? When you feel weak and lost and everything looks dark and on the verge of destruction?
Let Me take you to My Word and I will give you the answer you need.
Let us go to a very grave storm in the life of My apostle Paul. He was being taken as a prisoner to Rome and, against his advice, the captain of the ship set sail, and just as Paul had foretold, they were hit by a terrible storm.
It all began when they set out, sailing along Crete, close inshore. Before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo (a northeaster); and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, they gave way to it and let the boat be driven along. The next day they were being violently storm-tossed, so they began to jettison the cargo; and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and the storm was increasingly violent, from then on, all hope of being saved was gradually abandoned. Acts 27:13-20.
When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in the midst of the prisoners and crew members and said, “Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:21-26.
But nothing seemed to change, instead the storm grew worse and fourteen more days passed. On the fourteenth day, when the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food. There were two hundred and seventy-six persons in the ship. When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea. Acts 27:33-38.
Are you beginning to be reminded of something? This is the same Paul who wrote years before to the Corinthians, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
And how about another meal that took place on the fourteenth day that resulted in deliverance of an entire nation, who crossed through a sea? And what did they partake of before so great a deliverance that brought it about so that not a hair from the head of any of them perished? The Passover Lamb. “You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” Exodus 12:6-8. And down the ages they celebrated its memorial every year of how the Lord had brought them out from the land of Egypt, after partaking of the lamb all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. And now Christ your Passover has been sacrificed, and when you eat His flesh and drink His blood you are delivered from death to life.
After Paul had partaken of the bread, when day came, they did not recognize the land; but they did observed a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could. And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach. But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves. The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape; but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land. Acts 27:39-44. Not one perished but they lost the ship.
When they had been brought safely through, they out that the island was called Malta. The natives showed them extraordinary favor; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received them all. But that was not the end of Paul’s “storms.” As Paul gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god. Acts 28:1-6.
Paul then proceeded to witness to My Son and began healing those who were sick on the island, beginning with the father of the leading man on the island. Acts 28:7-8. And a great awakening to Christ followed as Paul healed all who came to him for the three months he was on the island.
Because of this, they honored Paul with many marks of respect; and when he set sail with all the other prisoners and crew members, they supplied them with all they needed. Acts 28:10.
At the end of three months I gave them the transportation they needed since an Alexandrian ship which had also wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. After more sailing and adventures, they came to Rome. And the brethren, when they heard about Paul, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet Paul and his companions; and when Paul saw them, he thanked Me and took courage. Acts 28:11-15. I am the God of all comfort, as Paul called Me: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
And I provided for Paul in Rome and gave him favor. Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him. He was not in prison, but under house arrest. Acts 28:16. All had come out just as I promised. And just as he had witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so now I had brought him to witness at Rome also, fulfilling the promise I made to him in Rome when he was first arrested years before. Acts 23:11.
Now, here is your formula when in a storm for a successful outcome, for as Jesus told you, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
- Keep up your courage by turning to My Word before you. I will direct you to the right Scripture addressing your night of the storm. Remember the ship hands and prisoners lost hope when they had gone a long time without food—No Word, No strength, No hope. Paul got up and fed them the Word, telling them of My promise of deliverance. “Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.” I will send you a preacher, a prophet, an angel, or a nudge of the Holy Spirit who guides you to all truth and My Word is truth.
- Believe Me that it will turn out exactly as My Word of promise in the Scripture with which My Spirit has enlightened your heart. The Holy Spirit reminds you of all I have said and teaches you all things. You have the anointing. Paul told the people on the ship, “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” Expect My promises to come to pass no matter how bad the storm looks.
- Keep up your courage by continuing to encourage yourself in My Word. David encouraged himself in My Word when all looked lost, Paul did the same. Your deliverance may not be immediate, as it was not for Paul and his shipmates. There was another fourteen days of storm. But they had to get to the right island where to land. Malta needed saving and, because of My apostle Paul, it still is a Christian nation today. Great fruit came out of the storm.
- Take communion. You will note that in continuing storm Paul took out what he had received from Me and delivered to every church where he went—the breaking of the bread. Acts 20:11. And once he partook, the deliverance came. “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. All of them were encouraged.” Remember the Passover deliverance? No harm fell on the those who partook and put the blood on their doorposts. And after eating I delivered them and led all out of the land of Egypt. And I made a dry path for them through the sea.
5. When the deliverance opens before you let go of the sinking ship. Do not cling to the sinking ship in your life, if you can swim, jump overboard, and if not, float in on the fragments of the broken ship, the broken dream, your broken life, your broken heart—but gather up the fragments and ride on them to your new life. You will be brought safely to land. Acts 27:41, 43-44. And there you will be fruitful and all you need to go on will be supplied, in fact, will already be there. Just as it was for Paul and the crew.
But you may run aground on a certain island. All 276 persons were. It was not a mistake.
And you should not wait on taking communion. After the Word was received by Paul, which he shared with the people as prophet, there were fourteen more days of storm, but when they took communion, the answer came the next day.
And did you notice that the storms were not over for Paul? He came out of one to another—no sooner had he arrived safely on the island then a poisonous snake attached to his arm. Did that stop him? No, he knew My Word, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18. And Paul proceeded to do all these things. He shook off the snake into the fire and suffered no harm. Acts 28:5-6.
“Awake, awake! Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for the uncircumcised and the unclean will no longer come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:1-2. Zion, the place of grace. When you look you will find I am there with you in your storm, in your captivity, ready to give you courage to rise up. How? How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7. But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12.
And how do I deliver you? I send My Word to heal you and deliver you out of your destructions. Psalm 107:20. Look for the light of the Word in the darkness of your storm and that Word will give you courage and deliver you from your destructions.
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; they have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in their misery. They reeled and staggered like a drunken man and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!” Psalm 107:23-31.
I love you. “Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things and consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.” Psalm 107:43.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21.