By Rob Pifer
As I write this word of encouragement to you, I do so sitting in the dark. Why? Because my power just went out. As the tinge of annoyance creeps in, I’m quickly reminded of the many folks to the west of us who are still without power, as well as the many more folks who remain homeless because of Hurricane Michael. It’s so easy for the “out of sight, out of mind” effect to take hold. Right before the power went out I was thinking of the cooler fall weather headed our way this weekend and how great that will be for the Saturday FSU Clemson high noon showdown. I’m back to reality now, in the dark without power.
For many of you, your reality now still involves Hurricane Michael. Maybe you have immediate family, or other loved ones to the west of us, who are still digging out of the devastation Michael left behind. Maybe you’re wondering how you can continue to help those in need. Maybe you’re discouraged as you try to make sense of all of the suffering people are going through as a result the storm. Understandably there’s a lot to process, but there’s also a lot of work to be done as the rebuilding phase moves forward. The Four Oaks team that went to Marianna last weekend saw this first-hand as they worked with the folks at Eastside Baptist Church serving the surrounding community. You can see from the pictures below, there was a lot to do. Thank you again to all those who helped!
As we move forward, there are a lot needs to fill, and if you’re like me it’s easy to slide into a mode of pragmatism that can easily spread us thin and leave us overwhelmed. We need to move away from that. Instead, let us move forward with faith-filled action that allows us to stay focused, productive, and dependent on the Lord and His promises to us.
In Acts 27, we find that the Apostle Paul faced one of fiercest storms of his life. The strength he needed to face and endure the storm came from a promise God had given to him years before. During the voyage, Paul warned the crew that a storm would come — and it did come.
Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. (Acts 27:18–20)
Into that moment of utter despair, God sent an angel to Paul, saying, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).
The promise that Paul would stand before Caesar was not new. Two years earlier, Jesus himself stood by Paul in prison and promised, “As you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11). In the midst of Paul’s terrifying storm, he needed to remember the promise God had given.
With whatever storm you are facing right now, be encouraged by the fact that God keeps His promises and that He will see you safely through. Remember that if you’re trusting in Christ, the journey that God has you on now is leading to the best there is, Jesus Christ Himself.
Be reflecting on these promises this week:
Philippians 1:6: “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
John 10:27–28: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Philippians 4:19: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 1:8: “He will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
On the journey with you, Pastor Rob