What Do You Do When You Are In a Storm? – Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

What Do You Do When You Are In a Storm? – Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD



ImageActs Chapter 27, Verse 14

But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon



Our text gives us an account of one of Paul’s many shipwrecks during his illustrious ministry.  In 2 Corinthians 11:25 we are told that prior to this shipwreck Paul had been shipwrecked 3 times. So here we have a well- seasoned traveler who was not new to peril and danger. A Euroclydon, also known as a gregale (i.e. a “Greece gale”) is a strong wind system that blows down from Europe into The Mediterranean Sea, mostly in autumn and winter. The term is used specifically only once in the Bible, in referring to Paul’s shipwreck I our text on Malta, however there is a possible earlier reference to the same “mighty tempest in the sea,” albeit one that The Lord miraculously triggered – the storm that Jonah’s ship was caught in. As with the apostle Paul’s experience, the crew threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship’s riding depth, although in Jonah’s case, they threw Jonah overboard too. This is an interesting distinction in that whenever we hear of a saint going through trial and tribulation our predilection is always to assume that they have sinned or those who are under satanic attack. We see here scriptural inference is that hidden behind simple cause and effect there might be a natural occurrence or even in the case of a disobedient saint; Christ Himself may be the initiator  Let me give you 4 things that I believe the Spirit of God is pointing to in this text that may help us deal with the inevitable storm.

Point 1 Consecration.

9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,


Please note that Paul’s revelation that this voyage was headed for peril came out of a period of fasting and praying.

The 10th day of the 7th month, the Day of Atonement. About October 1st by our calendar. This time of the year was very tempestuous to sail after the feast was proverbially dangerous among ancient Jews. Also note that the fasting and praying did not start while he was in the storm but before it. We must be like Samuel and not leave the posture of prayer and fasting but stay in the ‘there place for revelation for our situation.  KJV 1 Kings 17:3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.

It must be our conversation in the Greek sense. It must be our mode of conduct.

Point 2 Consent the rudder. (Permission, agreement)

Acts 27:15

King James Version (KJV)

15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.


Get in agreement with God. Let go and let God. Release control to God.

Point 3 Caste your wheat upon the water.

18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest , the next day they lightened the ship ;

This is the season to be diligent with the tithe. This is the season to sow. The way out of a need is through a seed. If you need love give love. If you need money give money! If you need time give time.

KJV Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

KJV Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

He went away sorrowful not because he had great possessions but because great possessions had him!

Point 4 Continue. Stay on the ship. (suffer, submit to, tolerate)


1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.


Hebrews 5:8
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved .

Psalms 23:4 Yea thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…

Through not to!

On the other side of the valley-

Table in the presence of mine enemies,

Head anointed with oil!

Cup running over

Goodness and Mercy following me all the days of my life!



Take It and Read- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageI’ve just finished reading a wonderful book by Andrew Piper entitled, Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times, by Andrew Piper, published by the University of Chicago Press. © 2012 by The University of Chicago. He skillfully writes about the tactility of reading. There is one beautiful piece that gives the account of the conversion of Augustine and how the codex which had now replaced the scroll had a significant impression upon Augustine.

In the eighth book of his Confessions, Augustine describes the moment of his conversion to becoming a Christian:

In my misery I kept crying, “How long shall I go on saying, ‘tomorrow, tomorrow?’ ” Why not now? Why not make an end of my ugly sins at this very moment? I was asking myself these questions when all at once I heard the singing voice of a child in a nearby house. Whether it was the voice of a boy or girl I cannot say, but again and again it repeated the refrain, “Take it and read, take it read.”

Augustine is sitting beneath a fig tree in his garden, and upon hearing the voice he takes up the Bible lying near him and opens a passage at random and begins reading (Romans 13:13-14). At this moment, he tells us, “I had no wish to read more and no need to do so. For in an instant, as I came to the end of the sentence, it was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled.” Augustine closes the book, marking his place with his finger, and goes to tell his friend Alypius about his experience. His conversion is complete. “Take it and read, take it and read” (tolle lege, tolle lege), repeats the divine refrain. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God! I love books! My wife says that I have too many of them. She claims that they only collect dust and entice spiders and other unwanted bugs. My office is over flowing with them; and if I had my way my house would have them in every room.  This post gives voice to my love for them.

Be Brave- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageSo be subject to God. Resist the devil (stand firm against him), and he will flee from you.

Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. James 4:7-8



The King James translation of this verse says ‘Submit yourselves to God’. To resist literally means to get in proper rank. Beloved God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all which we are able to think according to the power that worketh in us. That power is not us. It is Him. The word resist means literally to stand bravely against. You may have to stand with a shaky voice and knocking knees, but know that greater is He that in you than he that is in the world!

Living Consciously- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

I have been closely following articles by Dr. Depak Chopra recently. I stumbled on one about ‘The Conscious Lifestyle”. Dr. Chopra stated that living and being conscious comes down simply to to being  aware. One of the greatest challenges of life is to not go about dulled by routine and poor habits not not live  our lives consciously. It is having limited coping skills that makes us unconscious! When we are overwhelmed we take on too much responsibility. We try to exert too much control. We micromanage! The key is to learn to get into ‘Hobby Mode”.  When we are in Hobby Mode we are relaxed, having fun and enjoying ourselves. We need to recognize which Mode we are in Hobby or Work Mode and choose Hobby Mode!

John Irving

“So we dream on. Thus we invent our lives. We give ourselves a sainted mother, we make our father a hero; and someone’s older brother and someone’s older sister – they become our heroes too. We invent what we love and what we fear. There is always a brave lost brother – and a little lost sister, too. We dream on and on: the best hotel, the perfect family, the resort life. And our dreams escape us almost as vividly as we can imagine them… That’s what happens, like it or not. And because that’s what happens, this is what we need: we need a good, smart bear… Coach Bob knew it all along: you’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows.”

― John IrvingThe Hotel New Hampshire

I personally love this quote from John Irving. We have to always push pass our own personal trials and keep pressing on. Somehow we have to keep moving- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD