Stay In The Boat: When Perception Begs Our Abandonment by Author Jeremy B. Strang.
Are you in need of hope? Are the distractions of this world causing you to fear and take action into your own hands? Are you feeling as if all the storms of your life and dragging you deeper and deeper? Take heart, there is hope! Are you willing to seek it out?
Jeremy B. Strang’s new book, “Stay In The Boat,” takes you along with the Apostle Paul in his journey as a prisoner heading for Rome. In this epic voyage, a violent storm tossed sea causes fear, loss of hope, and destruction. Yet in the midst of all the chaos, Paul delivers a clear message of truth and hope – for he was resolved in the Spirit, ordained of God and Christ centered.
No matter if you are a seasoned believer, one who has recently come to Christianity, or seeking out truths of Jesus Christ, this book has something for everyone. If you have been struggling with issues, storms, or sins in your life, or simply do not know where to turn next, Jeremy helps you to refocus your vision.
Do not abandon the boat!
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I first met brother Jeremy a number of years ago and was immediately drawn to him as a serious minded brother. He is concerned with the Word of God, our relationship with the Lord, and the authenticity of who we are in Christ. These are traits I admire in a man. I first heard him speak on the subject found in this book when we both attended a recent meeting. Over the years, like many of us, I have heard a thousand sermons and many words shared. This is one of those words I will always remember.
In this book, the climax of the journey, the cutting away of the ropes, captured my heart because it has all the elements of our life in this world. Have you ever found yourself in a life or death situation where you are compelled to abandon logic and well intentioned advice and throw it to the wind? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where there is no plan B? God, speaking through Paul, was telling all aboard that ship that outside of Him, all hope was lost, and yet, be of good cheer for you shall live – only cut away those ropes. Life or death had arrived.
Will you listen to God through the words of a tentmaker who knows nothing of the sea? Or will you exercise your natural mind and make for the lifeboat. This is the essence of faith. When confronted with the stark realities of your situation, and all seems lost, what will you do? Will God find faith in you? Will you cut the rope?
Probably you will face these situations more than once. Even Jesus came to the earth for one purpose, and yet still, we see the struggle in the garden where He sweated like great drops of blood as He contemplated the will of God. We will have our own Gethsemanes, where we have to declare, “not my will but thine be done.” It is the battle, it is the defining moments of our lives as we either bow the knee in obedience or allow our will to be bent to the desires and demands of our flesh.
Brother Jeremy’s book considers how important it is in dealing with the issue of who Jesus is to you. Is Jesus the grand obsession of your life? Is He the air that you breathe? Is He in every step that you take? Is He the abundance of your heart, and does He sit on the seat of your affections in the deepest parts of who you are? He must be the reason you get out of bed in the morning. He must be the lover of your soul and the consumer of your thoughts.
If you have never had this kind of relationship with Him, then you must seek it out. If you have had it, but have lost your first love, then you must get Him back. Even now saints, even now He is knocking at the door of your hearts. Will you cut away the ropes that bind you to this world and throw your lot in with Jesus?
Brother Frank McEleny, Author
You see, we are not to be pointed to some “muster-up-your-own-faith-and-go” mentality, but to authentically set our sights on Christ and walk with Him. It’s not about what we can do for God, but what He has done for us; when conversion is real, response to God will be real – although, obviously not perfect.
Here we must realize the will of God is not always some clear cut, clean and easy thing that makes us happy and feel good. Often the will of God is full of toil and uncertainty, especially in the details. For if it were easy all of the time, would we not be tempted to boast in ourselves, in our might, in our resources and reject faith and trust in God? Oh most certainly!
The story leading up to our main text is nothing short of God’s mighty hand. The book of Acts truly is about the acts of the Holy Spirit leading mere men. And although we can examine many intimate details of how Paul reacts, we ought never to diminish God’s hand as He specifically and generally executes the overall plan for Paul to go and testify in Rome.
We must take heed: for how easy it is for us to elevate and boast in the power of man’s hand, and yet, offer up only weak and casual hints of God, as if He is a secondary supporting cast character in some man-centered story. Let us be warned: Let us be both a demonstration and a verbalization of the hope that is in us. May we speak, not because of rote memory, but because of the true living power of God, the living Christ, abiding in us. For the kingdom of God consists of power.
The deception is that we think we can handle looking and listening to the culture. Before you know it, we believe the lies, think often upon worldly things, become more and more like the carnal, and if without repentance, we then let fear, anger, bitterness, and pride waltz right through the front door. All we are then left to hope on is the flesh and powerless rhetoric.
I love how George Whitefield talks about his early years and the damages of cultural influence upon his soul when yet an unconverted youth. I cannot but help to fully agree, and yet too, at times morn over my past sins.
“Whatever foreseen fitness for salvation others may talk of and glory in, I disclaim any such thing: if I trace myself from my cradle to my manhood, I can see nothing in me but a fitness to be damned. ‘I speak the truth in Christ; I lie not!’”
If we identify with Him (Jesus) in that we say we are Christians, then should He not be our consuming joy, our chief motivation, our end goal? For to set our sights on Him means that we should be looking to Him both in private and in public, in times of plenty and times of drought, in times of ease and in times of heartache, in the daylight and in the night watch, in the long range, and in the moment-by-moment decisions. It is to have Him in reality and not mere theory; walking with Him in truth and not in show for one hour on Sunday; it is to really know Him and not just facts about Him. Sights set on Him means that the style of our life be affected by Him, resulting in Him having so captivated our attention that everything else seems but dim. As I have heard it said, that if we would see just how valuable, how precious, how worthy Jesus Christ truly is, He Himself will become the Great Distraction of our life, thus causing us to have our hope and our focus set on Him, thereby turning from the secondaries of life. For hope set on anything else is secondary and futile and is no hope at all.
 Be sure to read the rest of Acts 23 through all of 26.
 1 Peter 3:15
 John 15:1-11
 1 Corinthians 4:20
 Whitefield’s Life and Times, pg. 4, Robert Philip, Banner of Truth Trust, first printed 1837