Unwavering - a story, an illustration, something to start and capture attention
The future is so uncertain! Things are changing so rapidly. Very difficult to plan.
I was contemplating that and was about to wash the dishes. As I began to pray, God reminded me of a word he spoke to me in December last year. It was from James 4:13
I remembered that I had preached about this on the first Sunday of 2020
I went onto ULC website and watched - here is a short excerpt
As I went back to the dishes and prayed, I smiled. "If the Lord wills"
Wow, how different has this year turned out???
The Holy Spirit reminded me of the conversation that we had had in December, when God spoke to me through that passage.
He reminded me of how He wanted me to “reboot”
As thought twirled through my heart and spirit, I realised that He had been preparing for for now. The hard reboot was about to come - March 26th 2020 Power off. I have been trying to close all the apps, the open windows, not so successfully.
This Lockdown has been difficult, not so much in the things that we have missed but I think in the uncertainty of the future. The uncertainty of our jobs, businesses, careers, work places. The projections are all very gloomy.
A few weeks ago, we as elders talking and praying, were drawn to Acts 27/28 and through that, we decided to start a new series called Unwavering - it means to be resolute, strong, steady, steadfast.
In times of such turmoil, uncertainty, massive change, we need to know the God of the Universe, The Unchanging God, the Unwavering Master.
I want to pour courage into you today.
I want to share with you a StandOut point in this story from Acts 28, this story of Paul and 276 people being shipwrecked on an Island. They had been traveling for over a month on the seas, through ports, changing ships. Their destination was Rome. Paul was a prisoner, on his way to be tried before Caesar. It was a massive journey. On one of the legs of this journey, they were racing the season clock. Winter was coming. Not a time you want to be in the Mediterranean. They wanted to get to a nice place to winter. They made a decision against wisdom, made a run for it, and ended in the worst storm of their lives. Two weeks of being blown about in a stormy sea. Eventually being shipwrecked on the Island of Malta. Boat gone, cargo gone, personal belongings gone.
Now this is what stopped me in this story.
The Islanders showed 276 people Extraordinary Kindness
These Islanders, were like God. Paul writing to one of his fellow workers Titus, says that God
Titus 3:4 - But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us.
I have been meditating on this passage and God has given me a Word to encourage you
I know that for many, this last few weeks has been like a shipwreck. The storm of Covid 19 blew in unexpectedly and we have found ourselves fighting for existence. Maybe you have lost your job, there is a threat of loosing your job. Maybe your business has had to close? Maybe you have like so many that have asked me for prayer, owed money, people are not paying. They have closed their hands. Winter has abruptly comes not just as a season in the natural but emotionally, spiritually. You may be feeling cold, isolated, having been dumped into a hostile sea of circumstances, tossed around a bit having lost all you have??
Within this story, within these few versus, there are words of hope.
When the Holy Spirit through the writing of Luke, describes the Islanders in the same way Paul describes God - Kind,
That God is a God of loving kindness, then we can look at the why. What about these Islanders was like God?
I want to speak prophetically over you today. I want God’s Word to burn in you, bringing you courage and hope in the midst of despair and fear.
His Word is Unwavering
When there is nowhere to go, and only a winter to face, there will a be a fire to warm us, and the Kindness of God to Experience
* The Kindness of God is not earned, not worked for, it is who God is - Loving kindness, the nature and character of God.
* He will go ahead of you and prepare a fire to warm you.
* Expect the fire, look for the fire. It is a BIG fire for 276 people!
Secondly -There will be people ahead of you to build a fire.
* God knows what is coming, He will send people to build you a fire.
* God places openhearted people, ready to share His kindness.
* I love howUrban Life has been so Openhearted
* Covid 19 relief fund
* Check out this short message from Michelle the director of Botshabelo
Thirdly - Do everything you can to add to the fire
* I love how Paul sets an example and helps fan the fire - Openhanded
* Paul adds wood to the fire.
* Let us not be a people that just want to be warmed, but after we have been warmed by the kindness of God, let that bring courage to our hearts to bring warmth and kindness to others.
* Having received the kindness of God - show the same kindness.
* How did Paul do this, goes and looks for more wood - At great cost, he got bitten by a snake! He is not closed handed, he is opening his hands to help.
* I oversee a small upliftment program called The Workshop Project. It manufactures furniture etc
* It has had to be closed during the lockdown. I watched Carteblanche the other night - Masks are one of the best ways we can all reduce the spread.
* What about making masks - tell the story
* I love the way these guys have opened their hands, learning a new skill, being prepared to help.
Paul was a great “fire builder”
When his young church leader Timothy was needing some encouragement, Paul writes a letter to Timothy reminding him of the fire he started. 2 Tim 1:6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
The fire came from Paul laying his hands on young Timothy, imparting spiritual gifts.
Then he writes to remind him
Tells him to keep his fire going
This is a time to remind people of the fire that is on them.
Encourage them to fan it into flame. This is not a time to be putting the fires of the spirit out in people.
Stop complaining, stop looking for problems, stop being negative
Let us be a people of courage, strength, loving and kind.
Let us be an openhearted people, hands open to help.
We may get bitten, but lets shake it off, focus on the fire, don’t let the enemy get us down
I believe that new doors are going to open up for you. Door and opportunities into our cities and government.
Paul was asked to into the Governor of the Island
Expect open doors, that no man could open or even shut.
Open hearts and open hands, lead to open doors
Jesus was Unwavering for us. he set His face resolute towards the Cross, unwavering He went to die, so that we could have a real and genuine relationship with God forever.
As I have said, nothing is certain in these times, Stock markets have fallen, jobs that we thought were certain have become redundant over night. Political systems have been shaken. Oil free!!
A little virus has turned a world upside down.
There is only One that is certain, unwavering, trustworthy and His name is Jesus, the Son of God. The Ancient of Days
He came to give us a certainty of life with God forever
He came to show us God here on earth.
He came to reveal how to live here in very uncertain times
His example is recorded in four Gospels - great reading during lockdown
I love how this Apostle Paul puts it when he writes to the church in Rome
4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
In a day when people are blaming God for all the tragedy, it is in this time we need to know God as loving and kind and turn to Him.
If you have never put your faith and trust in the saving life of Jesus Christ. If you would like to know this Loving and Kind God, start a relationship with Him,
Or, if you once knew God but have wondered away, tried to make it through life without God, and you want to turn back to him today, won’t you make this declaration today. God, today I turn to you, I put my faith and belief in You the unwavering God of the universe. Forgive me of my rebellion, accept me into Your loving family. I declare you today as my Loving and Kind Father in Heaven.
If you declared that today, please indicate it to us. COL, you can click that button on the bottom right, on other platforms, please send us a message or reach out to us through our website.
May the loving kindness of God be your portion today and forever.