Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

For those of you who know me you know that if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all (OK, before you have a fit about me using the word Luck, stick with me)! I'm one of those guys that nothing quite works like it should the first time. Like the mouse for this computer I'm using; the one I inherited with the use of this computer was a wireless unit that wouldn't "click" on anything. I ordered a new one from Staples Online and got it a few days later. Once it was installed, nothing happened... no movement, no courser, nothing. I called up the manufacturer and after an hour they decided to send me a replacement. Once I installed that one I found that it wouldn't highlight anything and "clicked" on everything it touched! After yet another hour on the phone with the manufacturer, we discovered that this particular wireless mouse must be incompatible with my desktop computer. I'm now using an old, reliable wired mouse.

There's another guy kinda like that in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul seemed to have a series of unfortunate events follow him around all the time, also. He was shipped wrecked a couple of times, had some sort of physical malady that limited his eyesight and was put into prison a few times just for talking about his faith. Unlike me, Paul never seemed to loose his patience or his Christ-like demeanor. By the way, even-though I was tempted, I never threw any of those wireless mice at the wall.

Back to Paul... I think the secret to Paul's attitude was the belief that the vision and the provision were one and the same when directed by God. In Acts 23:11, God calls Paul to go to Rome to witness about Jesus to Caesar. God had already sent Paul to the Gentile people including the people of Asia and, at this point in his life, God had called him back to Jerusalem to witness on behalf of Jesus to the religious leaders there. Every step of his journey, Paul experienced God's hand providing for his every need in order for his mission to be accomplished. Now that God called him to go to Rome, he obeyed, knowing that everything would work out for him to have an audience with Caesar.

You can read through Acts 23-28 and see all the calamity Paul had to endure just to get to Rome, but looking closely at chapter 27 will give us some insights into how Paul dealt with stress. In this section of Acts, Paul has been arrested by Roman soldiers and is about to set sail with his guard on a shipping vessel with a fairly large crew. Paul knew that this particular voyage was going to be disastrous, but the sailors and the guard wouldn't listen to him, so they all set sail for the home of Caesar.

Day 1 (vs. 13-17) A wind starts to kick up that eventually leads to a full-blown hurricane! At first, the sailors try to resist the storm by heading into the wind and gave that up in favor of just letting the storm take them wherever it takes them. Eventually, they decide that the fury of the wind is going to rip the ship apart so they secured the rudder and passed ropes all around the body of the boat to reinforce the hull. They put every once of their experience and expertise to work to save their boat, their cargo and possibly even their lives!

Day 2 (v. 18) Through the night the storm worsened. Men began to throw the precious cargo, their livelihood, over the rail to lighten the ship. When no end seemed close to this massive northeaster, the men were forced to plan for survival and all thoughts of future welfare were abandoned.

Day 3 (v. 20) This must have been the biggest thing these people had ever encountered. They started acting irrational and did things they would never have done in the normal course of a voyage; they threw all of the ships tackle into the sea! When the storm continued their actions actually became self-destructive!

Day 13 (vs. 21-26) Yep... 13 DAYS!! By this time all the sailors and the Roman soldiers gave up all hope of being saved. The prolonged stress these people endured lead to loss of appetite and a disabling emotional and physical depression. But wait, there's more! Paul, who had been through the exact same turmoil as all the others isn't feeling lost or even overwhelmed. He is actually the only one speaking any reason and encouragement. Why? Because he had a vision from God that reminded him that he had not yet been to Rome. God had given him a vision of things to come and they had not happened yet. So, to Paul, the storm was bad and I'm sure he would rather not have been on the ship, but he wasn't worried about his life.

Day 14 (vs. 27-38) Things actually work out. The ship is run ashore and the hull smashes on impact, but no one looses his life! Paul was right, they never should have started this particular trip, but that didn't kill the vision that God gave Paul.

So what about your adventure. Are you so completely overcome by the storm in your life that you are acting like the sailors and the Roman guards? OR, are you so reliant on the vision God gave you first as a new Believer and then later when you discovered your purpose? Paul endured the same storm as those around him but never lost hope because he never lost sight of his God-given vision. are you giving hope to those around you? OR, are you as worried as they? Please remember this: When God gives you a vision, He has already provided a means for the vision to happen!
The Vision and Provision are the same thing!

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