Jentezen Franklin - Anchored
Acts 27, you ready? I'll begin reading with Verse 17. They're in an awful, awful storm in this text. Paul is on a ship that's in a storm, 'cause they're out of the will of God. They weren't supposed to go in that direction. God warned them, but now they're in a storm. Verse 17, "When they had taken it on board, they used braces to undergird the ship, fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. Because they were exceeding tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard".
I like the fact that it said that they did it with their own hands, "overboard with their own hands. And now when there was neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up". That's a dark place, right? I mean, there's no hope, this is bad. Paul stands up and speaks, and for the sake of time, Verse 22. "And now I urge you, brethren, cheer up". Cheer up. Cheer up. "For there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight to come. There were certain sailors who escaped the ship, were seeking to escape the ship. They let down the skiff", or the lifeboat, "into the sea under the pretense," pretending, "that they were putting out the anchors".
And Paul then said to them, the soldiers and the centurion, "Unless these men stay in the ship, it cannot be saved". Verse 29 said, "They dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight to come". Apparently one of the keys to surviving the storm is anchored, being anchored right, being anchored properly.
I'm preaching today on that word, "anchored," because it's a matter of time before everybody goes through storms. This is a true story and it happened March 27th, 2009, and this was a story about two NFL players and their friends. One of them was a college football player about to go pro. And, they were in the Gulf of Mexico, and they were in a tragic accident. They were fishing and having fun, and a storm came, and they saw it coming, and they had put their anchor out, and this is what the headline read. It said the NFL players and their friends, in the Gulf of Mexico, had concluded that it was caused when the vessel was improperly anchored, the boat capsized.
And the story ends telling how the Oakland Raiders linebacker and free agent for Corey Smith, and another young man from the University of South Florida were lost and killed, and only one lone survivor stayed out at sea, holding onto something that was floating for two solid days. And they end the story by saying this, overall, it was just a mistake in anchoring. Apparently, anchoring is a very important thing in the natural, and it is a vital thing, and that's why the Scripture mentions they put four anchors out that would keep them from drifting too far into the rocks and into disaster. You've got to have your life, your family, your marriage anchored, and I want to give you quickly three things that Paul instructed them to do when you're in a storm.
When you go through a storm, the first thing he said, in Acts 27:17, is he said, "Brace up". Brace up the ship. And so, they see a storm coming. They know it's gonna get bad, and they said, you know, we're about to enter into something. We'd better brace the ship up a little bit. It needs a little reinforcement. And the way they did that in Bible days is the sailor would jump off of the ship with a large, thick rope. He would have to swim under the ship, and they would take it up the other side, tie it, and do the process all over again, undergirding that ship, embracing that ship, making it strong enough to go through the storm that was coming. I believe that's a powerful instruction when you understand this is what you are to do when you get in a storm. Brace up your mind with the word of God.
The first thing you ought to go to when you hit rough weather, spiritually speaking, is brace up your mind in the word of God. Jeremiah 1:5 said, "Before I was formed in my mother's womb, God called me and ordained me. He knew everything I would go through, and He's given me the faith I need to get to the other side". Jeremiah 29:11, "It braces you up," it braces your thoughts up, "when you declare the word of God. I know the plans You have for me, plans of good and not evil, to give me a hope and a future". One translation said, "You have a future filled with hope," and boy, you need to hear that when you're going through the storm.
You have to brace your mind up with the word of God, because if you don't, fear will take over, worry will take over, depression will take over, discouragement and disappointment will take over. So, you brace your family up, you brace your marriage up with the word of God. Maybe it's a financial storm. Your month is longer than your money. Build and brace that financial world up with the word of God. Malachi 3:10, "God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you don't have room enough to receive"!
You know, I read this the other day. This is just a side note, but I read this the other day where it said that Abraham, you know, his name in the Old Testament was Abram, and God changed his name. And you know, when He changed it, if you read it, he went to Melchizedek and paid his tithes, and God added on to his name, "ham". And I just felt like sayin', I wrote it in my Bible. If you're tired of Spam, start payin' your tithes and God'll put you on ham! Come on, that'll preach! Turn to somebody and say, you look like you've been eatin' Spam, but you need to pay your tithes and God'll give you some ham! Abraham! Come on, that's a good joke! Say Amen. That was worth gettin' up and comin' to church for right there! I'm glad I traded in my Spam for ham on God's economy and God's plan, how about you? He's El Shaddai not El Cheaper. He'll supply your needs. So, brace up your mind with the word of God.
Secondly, Paul said, in Acts 27:30, he said, "Cheer up". Cheer up. Cheer up. When you're in a storm, it's no time to have a pity party. Cheer up! Cheer up! Hope must rule your heart. Control your attitude. Cheer up! The joy of the Lord is your strength. It could be so much worse. You could be in a hospital. You could be dying. You could have got a terrible thing, all kinds of... no matter how bad your storm is, it could be so much worse, so cheer up. Listen, the message of Christianity is victory: not victim, not depression, not despair, not going through trials. The message of Christianity is victory! This is the faith that overcomes the world! This is the faith that hell can't stop, demons can't stop! You have an anchor that is stronger than lies and all the enemy brings against you.
So, cheer up! Cheer up and be of good cheer, Paul said, right in the middle of the storm. He's leading you, the Scripture declares, from place to place in perpetual victory. Get that deep in your spirit this morning. God's not leading you to defeat. God's not leading you to devastation. He's leading you to perpetual victory, and don't you quit now. You undergird your life. You undergird your call. You undergird your marriage, your business, with the word of God. Cheer up. Brace up. Focus on what you have. Strengthen that which remains.
And then lastly, he said in Acts 27:18, they began to lighten the load. Listen to this, "with their own hands". See, the truth is, when Paul, apparently they had gone to different ports and they'd picked up stuff they didn't start out the journey with. And before you know it, your life gets full of stuff. But, the thing that a storm will do is the storm will come and it will cause you to begin to see the extra stuff that you have taken on board that really doesn't matter: the responsibilities, the distractions from the main purpose of our calling and our walk with Jesus Christ.
And so, when we go through storms, suddenly we start throwing. They start with their own hands. Quit waitin' on God to do everything and take your own hands and say, you know what? I'm going through something. There goes the baggage of complaining. I'm not going to complain all the way through this storm. There goes the baggage of depression. There goes the baggage of fear. There goes the baggage of past failure. There goes the baggage of unforgiveness and bitterness. You have to unload. When you're goin' through a storm, just get down to what's essential, and that's Jesus. Because when it's all said and done, that overbaggage of weight can sink your ship.
The Apostle Paul put it like this. He said, "Lay aside every weight that does so easily beset you". And I wrote down three that in my life, when I go through storms, these are the three things the enemy tries to hit me with, and they're baggage that I have to lighten up. I always have to throw them over. Number one, insufficiency. When I go through storms, I don't know why, but the enemy attacks me with a spirit that says you're insufficient. Insufficiency means not enough education, not enough talent, not enough money. No, but I got enough God. If I've got enough God, He'll take me places that I never dreamed. He'll send me where He wants me to go. He'll pay the bill! Insufficiency, get it off your boat! You're goin' to the other side. Insecurity. I can't do this.
I hear a little voice in my head sometimes when I get in a storm. You're going to lose. Insecurity, throw it off of your ship! The last one is insignificance. I always hear a little voice that says, no one really needs you. You're not important. You're not right for the part, you just put yourself there: insignificance. But when you hear those voices in the middle of a storm, that's God sayin', I'm letting you go through this so you'll throw all of that stuff off and be who I've called you to be, confident, and bold, and courageous, and stand there in your faith, not in you, but in your anchor. Your anchor is Jesus.
Listen. The boat doesn't keep itself in the storm, it's the anchor. The responsibility is on the anchor, and Jesus is our anchor. He's the rock of ages. So, everybody say, right now, brace up, cheer up, and I want you to lighten up. Throw it off and keep on goin', in Jesus' mighty name. You see, when people are anchored improperly, it can cost them their life, and that's the part of the story where the Bible said they got to a certain place, and Paul said, we put out four anchors. We put out four anchors. We wanted to make sure that we were properly anchored. The first anchor that'll keep you afloat when you're going through the storm is the anchor of purpose. I'm here for a purpose. My purpose is stronger than the storm. Purpose doesn't change in a storm.
Two things about purpose. Number one, purpose predates your conception. Jeremiah said, "Before I was in my mother's womb, You had a plan and ordained me to be a prophet and You had a call on my life". So, my purpose was greater than my conception in my mother's womb. Secondly, my purpose was planned without my input. God said, this is why you will be put on this earth, and He didn't ask your opinion. He put something in you that you don't even know that is unstoppable as long as you are doing what God has called you and purposed you to do. And you've got to focus on your purpose when you get in the storm. Focus on the purpose. Just focus on what's ahead of you, not what you're going through. Losers focus on what they're going through, but champions focus on what they're going to.
That's why Hebrews 12:2 said, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith". Why? "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame". What enabled Him to make it through His storm on that cross that Friday afternoon was what He was seeing, His purpose. He saw what would happen on the other side of the crucifixion, and that's what you have to do. God has used sinners, God has used failures, but God cannot use quitters. So, you have to drop the anchor of purpose and say, God put me here. God called me. God put us together. God gave me this business. God is for me, He's not against me.
There's divine purpose connected to my life, and the storm will not stop me! I'll focus on the shore and I'll make it through the storm. I'm not gonna talk about what I'm goin' through all the time, I'm gonna talk about what I'm goin' to. Clap your hands and shout if you believe it! I've got a purpose. You've got a purpose.
The second anchor that you've got to drop is the anchor of courage. When you get in a storm, you have to courage up. That's why he told Joshua four times, be of good courage. In Joshua 1, "Be of good courage". Get some courage when the storm comes. We don't whine in the middle of a storm. We don't go to pieces in the middle of a storm. We stand up on our hind legs and we say, I have Jesus with me and I can make it through this storm. I'm grieving, I'm hurting, I'm broken, I'm devastated. But in that moment, you either kowtow down and you just wither up, or you stand up with the spirit of courage and say, if God be for me, who can be against me? I'm goin' on. I'm goin' on.
Courage, courage, courage, courage. Courage is the ability to finish the race even if you're in last place. Courage is standing up to your daughter or your son when they want to date the cool guy, or the pretty girl, but you know deep in your soul it's a dangerous situation for their life. That's courage. Courage is forgiving a friend who let you down. Courage is loving a husband in the midst of a financial crisis that he caused, or a wife, the crisis she caused. Courage keeps on. Courage is refusing to let cancer steal your smile, refusing to let cancer steal your joy, but you go in and you take chemotherapy with an incredible attitude of courage that says, you know what?
I'm just believing that God's not through with me, and I've dropped the anchor of courage, and I've dropped the anchor of purpose, and my purpose is greater, my destiny is greater than my dilemma. God is gonna take me through to the other side, I just believe it. Come on and shout Amen! Hallelujah! Oh, there's a better shout. Try it again! Courage is tryin' again! Courage is dreaming again. Courage is saying I will not quit, I am going to keep going. Courage is not the absence of fear, it's doin' it in spite of fear. I'm afraid, but here I go. Don't lose sight of the shore in the storm.
There's a third anchor that I think is so important, and boy, this one really speaks to my life because it's been one of the keys, and all of these, but I thought about that anchor of worship. When you get in a storm, we are not called to be a bunch of whiners that whine about how bad and dark the storm is. Worship, not whining, is what we do in storms. It's what Christians do in storms. You see, we don't worship Him for what He's done, or what He's allowed us to go through, we worship Him for who He is. And you begin to worship God, worship is where the answers will come, where the victory will come, where the breakthrough will come. Don't let the enemy steal, drop the anchor of worship. We're not goin' to church. Why aren't we goin' this week? We've had the worst week. Then that's when we really need to go and drop the anchor of worship, and say, nothing's gonna stop me from coming, and the Lord gives, the Lord takes away! Blessed be the name of the Lord!
I don't want a little golf clap. I want somebody to worship with a clap! I want somebody to act like I'm preaching the truth, 'cause here's the thing about this. Some of you: I'm not in a storm. This doesn't concern me. It's a matter of time! And then that point will mean somethin' to you. And one more anchor. When you get in the storm, you've got to be anchored, this is so important, to the church. When I was thinkin' about this message, I thought about my childhood, all of my life. And let's say this is the anchor. Let's say this pulpit is the anchor. And I throw my anchor over there, and I'm connected to a rock that can't be moved, and that's Jesus. But, it's very natural to drift. I don't care who you are, you're not gonna be this close to the presence of God all the time. You just drift. You just start drifting.
I'm gonna tell you something about temptation. I'm gonna tell you something just in general about life. You get busy. It's not that you necessarily do anything, you just start drifting. But if I am anchored, I can only drift so far, and I feel the tug back. I can only go so far in temptation before I feel a tug. That's how you know you're saved, by the way. If you can just go on out here and do anything and everything that the world does, you're not saved! But if you're saved, you are connected and attached to an anchor, and it'll hold you back. Thy word that I hid in my heart that I would not sin against God, and just when you start to, it'll pull you back! Don't forsake the assembling of yourself together. It really, really is a powerful anchor, powerful anchor.
Hebrews 6:18 says, "Two immutable things," when you're in a storm. Number one, that, "It is impossible for God to lie". The One you're connected to cannot fail, cannot lie, and cannot lose. Watch this. "This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast, wherein we enter the Presence behind the veil". And the next verse tells you what's behind the veil, Jesus. I want you to hear this. He said, pretend that's the veil, and behind the veil of the old covenant there was the Ark of the Covenant. It represents Jesus. He said, "I have an anchor of hope". This is interesting. "The smallest form of faith is hope". I just hope so. I don't even have faith to believe that, I just hope so. I haven't lost all hope. I haven't lost all hope.
When I take my hope and I throw it beyond the veil, here's the beautiful thing, my faith transforms it in mid-air into an anchor, and my anchor takes hold of Jesus, my High Priest, my Provider, my Healer, my Deliverer, and I have an anchor for my soul. Whatever comes against me, here's how Paul put it in Romans 8. "Nothing can separate me from the love of God"! Failure can't! Mess up can't! Temptation can't! Disappointments can't! Dashed dreams can't! Discouragement can't! I am forever attached! And I may drift, and I may be closer during the 21-day fast, we all feel like we're right here. But then, a few trials, and a few battles, and a few setbacks, and we're way out here, but nothing can separate me. Whoo! Oh, we need to shout right there! Hallelujah! That's victory! That's a blessing when you know, He's got me. Nothing can separate me from that God who calls me by my name! He knows the hairs on my head.