Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Amos 1:1-8 and Acts 27:1-20.

Acts 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. (NIV)

            It must have been a terrifying experience for Paul and his companions. In those days, most small sailing vessels hugged the shoreline because they couldn’t navigate in the wide expanse of the sea. During daylight hours, this was quite safe, but at nighttime or in the midst of storms, all sorts of dangers could occur which normally ended with vessels being shipwrecked on the rocks of the land they were following.

            In today’s Biblical passage, (Acts 27:1-20) a storm which had been brewing for days, suddenly unleashes its fierce power which will eventually doom the vessel that Paul and his companions are sailing in. For most of the passengers and crew, faith gave way to fear and as Luke states in his narrative, ‘we finally gave up all hope of being saved.’

            Notice that Luke writes “all hope,’ not just some, but all of it which included their faith in God’s power to save them. Paul, however, did not let go of his hope and in the remainder of the chapter, his faith enables everyone on board the vessel to be saved.

            We all go through uncertain times and experience worrying issues which test our faith and stretch our reliance on God to its limit. If we have taken time to build up our faith and knowledge of God, we can find an inner strength to help us overcome our problems. However, if we neglect our faith and take it for granted, we may soon discover that we have very little hope to cling to.

            As we head into the season of Advent, let us try to strengthen our commitment to God through worship, Bible study, and prayer. None of us have any idea of what we may face in the future, so is it not a better idea to be fully prepared for whatever may come by building up our reliance on God with faith, hope, and love?

Point to ponder:  What issues am I currently facing? How am I relying on God to help me through them?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know all that’s going on in our lives right now and fully understand the problems we are facing. Help us to turn to You for wisdom and strength, guidance and care to overcome. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s new Advent drawings. If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to