Welcome to the Beach!

James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Carynne does not like the water. She screamed during her bath from the time she was tiny and now considers the swimming pool to be an object of horror and torture. With the help of a patient but firm swim instructor, she has made great strides this summer. Before her teacher taught her to swim, she did three things.

First, she made it clear that not swimming was not an option. She would not allow Carynne to have the lifeboat of not swimming. It didn't matter how much she screamed, kicked or cried, she was going to get into the water.

Second, she made certain Carynne got rid of her old habits. Old patterns of not getting her face wet or relying on the safety of the steps would have to be left behind before she could learn to swim. She couldn't move forward and learn to swim while staying stuck in the mire of her old ways.

Finally, she had to make Carynne let go of her fears and insecurities. As long as she was desperately clinging to some adult, she'd never learn to swim for herself. She had to get over her fear of being alone in the water and the feeling of helplessness that she might not be able to swim and just start swimming.

Carynne has made huge strides this summer. She still doesn't like the feeling of falling water on her face but once she relaxed, she realized there's pleasure in moving past her fears and insecurities and swimming out in faith.

This morning's passage is Acts 27:27-44. Paul and 275 others are stuck on a ship in a raging hurricane, desperately trying to reach safety. After two weeks, the sailors realize during the black of night that the ship is approaching some type of land (Verses 27-28). However to reach that shore, they would need to put their faith into action.
  • Cut the Lifeboat - Paul realized the sailors were planning an escape by using the lifeboat (Verse 30). Rather than endanger the lives of everyone by losing the expertise of the sailors, Paul has the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat (Verses 31-32). As the lifeboat floated off to sea, it carried any hope they had in its' saving them with it. Sometimes I don't move forward in faith, because I'm too busy checking out my lifeboat options. If my marriage doesn't work out, I can get divorced. If I can't easily live on what I make, I can just charge the rest. When I cut the lifeboat, I put my full hope and trust in God for my future. I may have to stop using the "D" word or cut up my credit cards before I can move toward the shore God has prepared for me.
  • Throw off the Provisions - Paul advises them to eat since most had not taken any nourishment for two weeks (Verse 33). This seems like sound counsel. It's what comes next that's baffling. They throw the rest of the bread overboard (Verse 38). The food that awaited them on the island, couldn't be attained without unencumbering themselves of the food they used to eat. Sometimes I can't move toward the shore because I'm weighted down by habits, patterns and associations from my old life I'm not willing to break free from.
  • Enter the Water Whether or Not You Can Swim - When the ship ran aground on a sandbar some distance from shore, the centurion ordered those who were able to swim to shore (Verses 41, 43). The others were commanded to grab some wood and float to shore (Verse 44). Both of these actions required a great deal of faith. The swimmers entered the water having no idea what creatures, current or calamity might await them. The floaters had no abilities of their own on which to rely but put their entire hope in a piece of broken ship. Sometimes I don't move forward in faith, because I'm too busy second guessing my abilities and fearing the unknown waters. God asks plenty of things of his loved ones that require us to dive into uncharted waters, many times with little ability of our own to support the task. We put our faith in God who uses the broken pieces of our lives to accomplish His purposes.

Jesus, help me trust You today and put my faith into action. Today I will cut my lifeboats, throw off old ways that are weighing me down and jump in the water leaving my insecurities and worries behind. I know what awaits me on the shore-You-is worth stepping out in faith.

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