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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Our Anchor In Times Of Storm

Charles Stanley - Our Anchor In Times Of Storm

TOPICS: Hard times, Life Principles to Live By

I've experienced a number of storms in life and one of them was so bad that I had to sit down on the floor to pack my bags to disembark the next day. In another storm, I stood up to preach and the boat began to rock so much that I couldn't stand up and preach so we had to call it off. And then a third one really got rough and I was looking around for my life vest just in case I must possibly need it. Then I think about one other storm when I was sailing and thought I knew a little bit more about it than I did. And a squall came up and caught me, and before I could get the sail down, I capsized and I'm out in the water, and another boat picks me up.

So, I've had a few storms in life. But the worst storms in my life have not been on the sea. When I came to First Baptist Church I came as an Associate Pastor and when the church decided they wanted me to be the pastor, some folks decided they didn't. And so, that was a storm in my life. And then when I was president of the Southern Baptist Convention for a couple of years, that first year that I presided over the convention of fifty something thousand messengers which was a very, very difficult time. That was a storm in my life. And then I think about one of the worst storms was watching my mother die a day at a time for about three months. That was a stormy time.

The worst storm of all lasted the longest. It hurt me the most, tested my faith, tested my endurance, and I would have to say it was the worst storm of my life. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. How do you ride out the storms in your life because we all have them? Some of us have a little more difficult storms than others but we all have storms. How do you ride them out? Do you want to give up and quit and just walk away? Or do you have to fight to endure them? How do you respond?

Well, what I want to talk about in this message is this, and that is, Our Anchor in the Times of Storm. Listen to this verse of Scripture. The Scripture says, "The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever". The Bible says that, "His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path". It is certainly an anchor in our time of storms. And in the Mediterranean world the anchor was a very familiar term. On the catacombs where the Christians would meet secretly there are sixty-six pictures of anchors. And in a picture for example, there's a ship you can tell the wind's blowing against it and the ship is in trouble but it's anchored to something solid. It's immovable. God has given us an anchor for the times of storm in our life.

So, how do you ride them out in your life? You just complain and moan and groan and ask God why? Or do you ride them out? And find out what God will do in your life when you ride them out. Well, I want to give you a number of pointers about storms and I want you to think about the kind of storms that you've been through in life. And as I say, we've all been through them. And so, what we need to do is to ask ourselves the question, how do we handle these storms when they come? Because when you think about an anchor for example, an anchor is a symbol of stability and security and every ship carries one or more anchors.

What is the anchor in the life of the believer? The anchor in the life of the believer is the Word of God. In a few moments, I want to be able to help you understand what the Bible really is. It's not just a book. What is the Bible to begin with? What is this anchor? And how does this anchor help you and me walk through the storms in life that we have to walk through? Now they come in different forms and they come in different seasons of life. For example, many people today are walking through the storm of financial trouble and heartache. They've lost their home, they lost their job, and it's a storm in their life. Many other people are going through the storm of ill health.

And we talk about all these things today about health and so forth. Many people are living in a storm of health. For somebody else it's in their family, separation, divorce, stormy time in their life; loss of job, broken relationships. All kinds of storms come and they come in different seasons in life. And they come in ways oftentimes for example, there are storms that people experience, they don't tell anybody. It's not so much that it's a secret storm as it is. There're some storms you just don't talk about. And people face those storms and they face them privately and quietly without telling anybody. And yet, what happens is they're still suffering whether you tell anybody or not.

Some storms last for a brief moment. Some storms just go on and on and on. And the question is, how do you respond? How do you ride through storms in life? And the reason you and I need to know is for the simple reason, because they they're going to keep coming. There's not going to be a time in your life when you say, Well, phew, no more storms in my life. About that time, you get hit with some blindsided, something in your life. Because that's just the way life is. We we live in a fallen world and that's the way it is. So, the question comes what's the origin of these storms? Where do they come from? So, they come from one of several places. For example, some storms we create ourselves; something we do in our life. Some storms for example are the result of something someone else does to us. Maybe something we had nothing to do with but the storm ends up in our life.

And I think about children for example their parents separated, divorced and they experience the aftermath of that storm and the storm goes on and on and on and sometimes they never recover. Sometimes it's a matter of Satan doing something in a person's life. Just just the pure devil working in a person's life. And then sometimes, of course, God is the one who is responsible for the storm. You say, Well, why would God send a storm in someone's life? Isn't He a God of love? Yes, He is. The reason I want to bring that up is because He is the author of it, read the Word of God, sometimes He is. And so, there's always a purpose. That is, if God ignites a storm in your life, He has a definite purpose in mind. Even if it doesn't come from Him, what does He do? He takes advantage of it and He gives it a purpose. He makes it something that you and I can profit by as a result.

So, what's God's purpose? That is, if He allows a storm in your life and remember He can send it or He can allow it. And because you're one of His children nothing can touch you apart from His permissive will. So, if He allows a storm in your life and some storms come very early in our lives. And I can think about a few that came early in my life, just like you can. But what's His purpose? What does He have in mind? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is, He wants to get our attention. That is, everything can be going along fine. Let's say that you're a Christian and you're just sort of drifting along and everything's fine. God has a purpose for your life, and so what does He do? He just either sends a storm or allows a storm in your life to get your attention because what gets our attention is heartache, troubles, trials, difficulty, persecution, you name it. He's got our attention.

So, that's one of the reason He allows it, to get our attention. A second reason is because He wants to get to some sin in our life; something you've allowed to develop in your life, you know it doesn't belong there, you know it's not pleasing to God, you know it doesn't fit who you are, and so what happens? He sends a storm to get your attention to get you to listen, to look, and to look at your life and to recognize there's something going on in your life that shouldn't be there. And He wants you to deal with it. And, listen to this, the longer you hold on to what He wants to get rid of, the stronger the storm is going to become. And many people it may begin with a little wind and for many other people it ends up to a hurricane for the simple reason they refuse to acknowledge that God is up to something in their life.

And then, of course, a third reason and that is, He wants you to surrender something. He wants you to lay down something. He wants you to take your hand off of something that you're gripping, that you're grasping very tightly. And God wants you to loosen your grip on it so, listen, because He's got something better for you than that. And so, what happens? He sends a storm to get you to thinking of and to recognize and to get your attention and look at some sin and to recognize that you're holding onto something He doesn't want you to hold onto. And all of us have been there.

So, you know, you can sit here and think, Well, that doesn't really apply to me. Yes, it does. We've all been there. There's another reason and that is, He wants to conform us to His image. He says, stop being conformed to the likeness of the world and be transformed by the renewing of your heart that you may prove what is the good and perfect will of God. That is, God's ultimate goal is to shape us in the likeness of His Son. So, what does He do? He gets our attention, He deals with sin, He brings us to surrender, He wants to conform us to His likeness. Because you see, another reason is He has a purpose. That is, He wants to equip us to serve Him.

So, you ask yourself the question, what storm are you going through in life? What is it that's giving you a real, difficult time right now? What is it that you'd like to change if you could? What is it that is bringing you pain, heartache and suffering and disappointment? And oftentimes maybe anger? Maybe you're angry at God about something He's allowed in your life. Then ask yourself the question, God, if these are the purposes are You trying to get my attention? God you've got it. Is there sin in my life? Show me exactly what it is. Usually we don't have to ask Him to show us. We usually know what that is. What is it You want me to surrender? Shaped into? What do You need to change in my life? God are You trying to equip me to serve You?

And you see one of the reasons that some people aren't serving God is because they're not equipped. Because they've never reached that stage of surrendering themselves to Him so He can prepare them to serve Him. So, somebody says, I could never serve God. You can, as long as you have that attitude and secondly as long as you're unwilling to say, God whatever You want in my life, open hands, I'm available, I'm willing for You to do whatever You want to do Lord, here's my life. Then you may be absolutely, totally surprised at what God will do in your life. So, there's always a reason for it whether He sends it or whether He doesn't. And then some storms come and they affect people in different ways.

Now, watch this, a storm in your life can destroy you or it can develop you. It can build your strength, your wisdom, your knowledge, your understanding, your commitment, your devotion, your faith, your serenity, your peace, your joy in your life. That is, some storms when God gets through working them into our life we're just so much better off. We're cleaner. We're purer. There's more peace. There's more joy because you know you're in the center of the will of God. So, sometimes they develop us, sometimes they destroy us, and that depends upon how you respond.

So, when storms come what do you do? Fight against God? You argue with Him, Well, Lord I didn't ask for this. I don't deserve this. What's this all about? You pray for your friends to bail you out of that storm quickly as possible? And isn't it interesting how we can just pray, Now Lord get me out of this as quickly as possible. I don't deserve this and you know what? Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm. He must just hum away while we're down here struggling when He wants us just to get our attention because He's got something in mind. He doesn't want a storm to destroy us.

And the truth is, only when we allow Satan to get a grip on us in the times of difficulty will it happen. But we have to insist on looking at it our way and bailing ourselves out as quickly as possible, He's not going to let it happen. It can destroy us, it can develop us. That is, a storm can put you on the shelf so that you're never used of God or it can equip you to be a fantastic servant of God.

It's our response and our response is determined by a number of things. One of which is, our view of God. How do you see God? If I see God as this legalistic, strict God who's just chalking off my bad points. Or do I see Him as a God of love and compassion and kindness and forgiveness and purpose and desire to use you in some fashion, in some way? How do you see Him? How do you picture God? That is, when you think about God and you're a child of His and you've been saved, how do you picture Him? And say in other words, is He on your side? Or is He on the side of something else? Do you see Him behind these storms with anger? Or do you see Him an awesome, loving God sending into your life something that you don't like, He knows you don't like it, but He knows it's best for your life at this moment in time? How do you see Him?

So if somebody said to you, well, How do you see God in these things? Then you might say, Well, here's the way I see Him, and you describe how you see God. Then you open the Word of God and you begin to read what the Bible says about God. And you think, My goodness that's not who God is at all. You see, the reason you and I need an anchor in our life is because it is natural and normal for us to drift. There's no such thing about, somebody saying, Well, I never drift. You stop reading the Word of God you're going to drift. You stop praying, you're going to drift. You stop going to church and you're going to drift. Because you and I live, listen, we live in an age and a society and we live in a time and an environment and an atmosphere and the pressure that is wicked and vile and sinful.

And so, what happens is, when you're living in an unrighteous atmosphere you will naturally drift toward unrighteousness unless you are anchored in something and anchored by something that keeps you from drifting. That's why I say to people, when you get up in the morning you ought to open the Word of God. Oh well, I don't necessarily need that. Yes, you do. We're living in a sinful, vile, sensual, selfish, ungodly atmosphere and unless we're anchored in the Word of God what's going to happen is we're going to find ourselves giving in. And so, what's the anchor? Well, what anchors you? When a storm hits you, what anchors you? Or do you just drift along with it? The Word of God is our anchor.

Now think about this for a moment, storms are inevitable, our anchor is immovable. Let's say it together. Storms are inevitable, our anchor is immovable. That is, it doesn't move; it doesn't change; it anchors us solid to the rock of Christ. So, if that's true then what we have to ask is this, then what is this Bible? What is it about the Bible that can anchor me in times of great storms? This is God's written record of His of the unveiling of Himself. This is who God is. This is how He works. You want to know how God works? Start in the Old Testament and see how He worked. You want to see how God works? Get in the New Testament and see how He worked. What did He say? How did He work? How did He respond? How did He move? How did He change things? How did He work in the lives of people?

If you don't understand who He is then the anchor doesn't work because we're talking about a God who loves us enough to reveal Himself to us in a written record so that you and I would know who it is we are worshipping, how to worship Him, how to walk in obedience to Him, and how to stand firm in the midst of blowing winds of storm that come upon us in life. That's what the Word of God is. God loved you and me enough to come in human flesh and walk among us to reveal to us who He is and what He's like. Now here's the question, alright if I understand what the Bible is, God's unfolding revelation of Himself and I understand who this God is that gave us the Word, how does the anchor help me when I'm in times of storm?

Well, let's think about it for a moment. First of all, it comforts me greatly. Now think about this, the Word of God anchors our storm. Now, watch this, because He is omniscient, all knowing, He knows where I am in the storm. Because He's omnipresent, He's with me wherever I am in the storm. And because He's omnipotent, He has the power to bring me through the storm. That is the anchor. How do I know that's the anchor? Because that's who the Bible says He is. That He is all-knowing, that all presences in His presence and He's all powerful. You remember when the disciples out on the ship at sea and it was about to sink? And they were crying out and what happens? Here comes Jesus walking on the water. Well, why was He out walking on the water? He could have walked around the shore. Because in His omniscience He knew where they were.

And no matter what you're going through, you can mark this down, there is a promise in the Word of God that will match what storm you're going through. This infinite God of ours who gave us the revelation of Himself, because He's omniscient He, watch this, He knew every single kind of storm that could ever come upon humanity from Adam and Eve in the Garden to this present day until He comes back and wraps it all up. He knows all about all storms. So, therefore when He gave us His Word, how many storms does His Word cover? All of them. You cannot think of one He does not consider. The promises of His presence, the promise of His power, the promise of His provision in our life, whatever that need is.

And sometimes the need is very simple, I just need to know You're here Lord. I just need to be reminded that You understand why I feel what I feel. I just need to know dear God that You understand why I'm upset. I You You need to know why my faith is wavering. God, I just need to be comforted and assured. One other thing the anchor does is simply this, it helps me get God's viewpoint on what's happening to me. How would that happen? When I see how He allowed and sent storms in the past, I think, Okay, what similarities are there in this storm that I'm going through? How does God view these things? God doesn't view the storms in your life and my life as something that just happens.

People say, Well, that's just an accident. In other words, are there just accidents in the life of men and women whose God is the Lord and who has said that He will govern and guide our life? Does that mean that everybody's going to live a long, healthy life? No, because you and I have some bit of responsibility ourself. And I was thinking about that this week thinking about my father for example who died when I was nine months of age. Now my mother never understood that. She passed away when she was about eighty-four and she was still asking me. She would say to me, You know, I still can't figure out why God took Charlie. She could never could figure that out. And I tried to give her a little insight into it but you know when you're her age you believe what you believe and that's about it. And so, I don't know that I'll ever convinced her of anything. But I can look back and say, Well, that wasn't a mistake. And his disease would be curable today. God knew all about that. He could have let him live if He'd have chosen to but He didn't.

So, why didn't He? Not having a father drove me to God very, very early in my life. Drove me to the Word of God. Drove me to see how God worked in the lives of Old Testament characters because I didn't have anybody else to tell me that. I can see how God used all of that to drive me to God early, to depend upon Him, to learn to trust Him no matter what. I think about the fact, for example, my first real job was delivering newspapers. Think, well that wasn't the best job in the world, five thirty in the morning, and you had to take a bag of papers on this side and a bag on this side. And you had to walk everywhere, none of this driving and tossing things.

You say, Well, I could have had a better job. No. You know what? God knew that He had something in mind to get me up at five and five thirty every morning to be disciplined to dress myself. And if in those days it snowed at times and rain, sleet, hailed, but you had to go no matter what was going on. You had no excuse for not delivering the paper. And so, it got me up every morning. Well, I was a little bit afraid of the dark. Well, how could God use that? I'll tell you exactly how, because I'd get up and before I walked out the door, I'd start praying. I would pray all the way around my paper route because there's nothing much going on at five and at five thirty, six o'clock in Danville, Virginia. And so, I look back and see the things that could have been better. God knew that for me it was best.

So, sometimes what appears to be storms in our life may be a storm but on the other hand the question is, what's God doing in the storm? And you can mark this down, whatever the storm is He is at work. He's at work in the storm. And for somebody who's unwilling and unwilling to look in the Bible and look at all the promises here. He's up to something good in every single storm if we'll just trust Him. Now it's one thing to have an anchor but no ship is going to leave port without an anchor and a compass. It's one thing to have an anchor but you know what? Possessing it doesn't really make it work. For example, some people seem to have the idea if they take their Bible home, and they put it on the table beside the bed at night, and they're going to osmosis all night long. Somehow, it's not going to work. Or if you sleep on it maybe you'll get it that way. You know how you get it?

Here's how the anchor works, first of all, you've got to read it. Secondly, you've got to meditate on it. What is it saying? What's the message to me? Thirdly, you've got to believe it. You've got to believe what it says. And fourthly, you've got to be willing to apply it to your life not somebody else's life. And number five, you've got to be willing to obey it. Then the anchor works every single time. So, the next time the storm hits you remember what the anchor is and that's the way you handle the anchor. It doesn't make any difference who you are, where you are, what you're going through.

You may be someone who's never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and you say, Well, I don't get all that. Well, here's the reason you don't and I understand. You see, as long as you live in sin, you'll never understand the truth of God. And until you're willing to acknowledge your sinfulness and the fact that God sent His Son Jesus into the world for the primary purpose of dying on the cross and paying your sin debt in full. Let me explain that, that means that the death of Jesus who was the perfect Son of God called the Lamb of God to be sacrificed as payment for your sin and mine. God placed the guilt of the whole world on His Son, crucified Him at the cross, and in so doing, made it possible for every person who believes in Him to be forgiven of their sin forever, their name written in the Lamb's Book of Life, eternally a child of God.

It took Jesus to die, not someone else. Because you see He was the only perfect person who's ever lived. And the whole Old Testament is a testimony to the fact that the lamb that was slain, a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus, that lamb had to be absolutely spotless or it would not be an acceptable sacrifice. Jesus Christ the perfect Son of God went to the cross and died for your sins and the moment you're willing to ask Him to forgive you of your sins, to cleanse your heart, surrender your life to Him, He's willing to forgive you, the Holy Spirit comes into your life to seal you as a child of God. That's a testimony of Scripture. And from that moment on you can begin to grow as a Christian. And all the things that we've talked about can become a reality in your life.

If you've never trusted Him as your Savior let me just say this, you're sailing in dangerous waters. You don't have Him, you don't have a compass. You don't have the Word of God in your life, you don't have an anchor. And you think about this, you're just sailing around. There are lots of rocks, lots of shallows, and one of these days you're going to shipwreck. I know that's hard for you to believe when you've got so much and you're so healthy and you're so, as you think, happy at this point. Ask any man who's ever piloted a ship, is it not foolish and suicide to go without an anchor and a compass and just go with the wind and the current? The current of today will lead you away from God that's why we need the anchor to hold us steady. Amen?

Father we pray the Holy Spirit sink this message so deep that it cannot be lost. That every single person who hears it here and around the world will be able to identify with the need of Christ in the times of storm in their life. We know that You have the power; whatever language it's spoken in, You have the power to use it to bring about the salvation of multitudes of people. The assurance and confidence and comfort in millions of others and that is our prayer. In Jesus' name, amen.

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