The Word's Christian Fellowship, Inc.
 #142 An Enlightened Memory                                                                           June 3, 2018

Acts 27 records the experience of the Apostle Paul as he was traveling by ship to Italy on his way to Rome. The ship he was on encountered a storm that was so terrible that everybody on the ship thought they would lose their lives. Verse 21 begins to explain how the Almighty God saved the wonderful Apostle Paul, the other believers traveling with him and everyone else on the ship.

Acts 27:21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

I remember many years ago, when I was first beginning to learn God’s Word, I happened to be in a Fellowship of believers where a young woman was sharing an experience she had recently had on an airplane. She referenced the section of Scripture above and then went on to explain that the airplane she had recently been on experienced engine trouble mid-flight.

The captain of the plane announced they were having the trouble and according to her telling, many of the passengers started to panic. She recounted that she remembered what Paul had said when the ship he was on was in trouble so she decided to do the same thing. According to her, she stood up and boldly declared to all the passengers, “Don’t be afraid: for I believe God and we’re going to be safe.”
It was clear to me from how she explained what she’d done that she’d had no specific information from God, either by revelation, by an angel, or by some other means. She had simply imitated what Paul had done.

Soon after her bold declaration, according to her, the captain announced the problem had been resolved and they would be landing safely soon. Again according to her, there was a round of applause and many people thanked her for her “faith.”

Like everyone else in the group that day, I was duly impressed at this remarkable young woman and her seeming ability to demand action on the part of the Creator of the heavens and earth simply by the power of her “believing.” What she communicated was, “I decide what God’s going to do. I believe it and God has no choice but to bring it to pass.” In other words, a Christian need not pray according to God’s written Word or receive revelation from Him. They just decide what God’s going to do and if they believe what they’ve thought up, well then, God simply has to do it. That was what I learned from what she shared, at that time, all those years ago.

A few years later I learned from learning more of God’s Word that I had been bamboozled by this sincere, enthusiastic young woman. I learned from God’s Word that, although a Christian can pray in any situation, you can’t believe that God Almighty is going to specifically do something and demand that He do it if He hasn’t told you that He will, any more than you can believe that I’m going to specifically do something for you and then demand that I do it if I haven’t already told you I’m able and willing to do it.

I don’t know why or how the trouble with the plane was resolved, but I do know that it wasn’t because some foolish young woman decided what God was going to do and then forced Him to do it. If she had wanted to make a public declaration of her “faith” it perhaps would have been better to declare: “I believe what God’s Word says in Philippians 4:6: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, therefore I’m going to pray.” On the other hand, she could have sat quietly in her seat and silently prayed with her understanding and silently spoken in tongues.

The reason the Apostle Paul could say, “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” is because God had told him what He was going to do ahead of time. Paul even explained how he had heard from God.

Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

Once Paul had specific information to believe from God, he could then believe what God had said. In essence, Paul said, “Cheer up fellows, I believe what God said and we’re going to be safe.”

So what do you do if you don’t have specific information from God to believe in a specific situation? Then you pray in that situation and ask God for His help according to your rightly-divided knowledge of His written Word ¾ which is information from Him that you should already know and believe. Knowing what God’s written Word reveals as to what He has done and what He is able and willing to do for His children today is the basis for our requesting His help in life’s situations because of all that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished and God’s gift of holy spirit to us.

                                                            © Stephen A. Harrison  The Word’s Christian Fellowship, Inc.  4415 Yank Road  Wilson, NC 27893