Our Ship
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     Prisoners, cargo handlers, soldiers and sailors were on a ship headed for Rome. Planning the voyage with maritime strategy they were unaware of their eventual destination. The Apostle Paul was one of the prisoners onboard and recognized as someone worth listening to along the way. Speaking by divine foreknowledge he warned them all about the dangers ahead. In spite of his counsel, the journey was already determined and sails were set to the sea. Due to the stormy weather of the season their trip had plenty of setbacks right from the start. Even with the combined know-how and patient progress of the crew, the struggles mounted as did the raging waters. The scripture accounts of the fierce opposing winds forcing many days on an alternate course, then re-navigating & re-securing their pounded vessel. During their relentless attempts to stay afloat, the ship’s valuable cargo and equipment was thrown overboard to avoid further calamity. Striving to survive, some aimed for the life boats for a quick escape which would have resulted in certain death. With every effort exhausted, 276 persons minus one had lost all hope in the black of night.

     The Grace of God was revealed to Paul. The encouraging Words given him by an Angel during the chaos guaranteed the safety of everyone onboard. At this point his faith and reassuring actions became the only reliable anchor while breaking bread with every one of them. Gaining confidence by daybreak, the ship was deliberately run aground at the island of Malta, but was destroyed by the battering waves. Close enough to land some were able to swim ashore and others used the pieces from the broken ship as rescue helps to get there. Everything was lost but every soul was preserved alive as the Word of the Lord proves true.

     Truth in allegory, is this a caption of relevance for us? Our expedition through life has these same souls of different sorts aboard Our Ship. We travel life's journey with our kin, our neighbors, friends, fellow students, workers at the job and with our fellow Believers. We’ve been grouped together on the same Ship by the King’s destiny, sharing the similar uncertainties and strivings of life. The higher calling is always reserved for the praying servant in similar circumstance eager to hear the call of God. The tossed out cargo represents our treasured possessions and earthen accomplishments. The ship represents every trusted fundamental which supports our very existence. The vessel and its contents are the essentials along life's journey, but at the very end, all that remains is God’s Word, and His Grace shown to the souls within Our Ship.

     Paul, servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle set apart for the Gospel of God. His many letters mention an individual identity with Christ, and the phrase "set apart" is best described by the example found here. He was not in charge, not in control and under the same jeopardy as all the others. What set him apart were his fervent prayers in the midst of trouble and overflowing faith as a result. The fruit of intercession grows with the cooperative struggles within his Ship and ours. Persevering with the persons God has purposely placed along my journey. Called to be the burden bearer of those I pray for, a provider to those I break bread with, and seer for those I sail beside through the winds of time. And we handle distress and survival just like the others to stay with the Ship. Scripture always proves that greater Faith is given to those who've been alone with God for the Hope of those around us.

In God's view, one "set apart" soul becomes the representative of Jesus and saves Our Whole Ship.
May this be you, and your Ship be saved like this one.

     Looking deeper at Our Ship – hasn’t our Lord Jesus already announced the end time warnings and a dreadful forecast that is to come? In the last days His Church and all of mankind will stray off course upon the raging waters of contrary winds. There will be no escaping the mayhem caused by the prince of the power of the air. Tribulation which has never been seen since the beginning of time will claim our values, our freedoms, our ministries and everything we own. Our lock, stock & barrel will be tossed overboard to the darkness by then. But there will be one reassuring voice as the only anchor of Hope while breaking the Bread of His Body with all those on board. He appears as one of the imprisoned, yet recognized as speaking the only Way, the Truth and the Life. At the end of the age, when the Church will carry its crew no further and is broken apart at its final strength, its pieces that remain will be the rescue helps for those who need it. At the very end, all that will remain is God’s Word, and His Grace given to the souls within Our Ship.

     Today for us is alone in prayer, faithfulness to His Word and determined to stay with the Ship of which our Lord has put us on. We’re predestined to be on it for all those onboard. What always stands true is the power of God’s Word and His guaranteed Grace to arrive for Our Ships’ salvation. And we will abide under the wings of the Almighty forever.

Author:
Teaching Staff at Bethany EPC


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