FOCUS AHEAD!

FOCUS AHEAD!

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. —Luke 9:62

“Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32). She looked back and it cost her her life. “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38).  

Consider those times you passed by a garden or a large field that was just planted.   What did the rows look like? More than likely they were straight rows. Now imagine going by a large field with most of the rows nice and straight and then this one row veering off and crossing all the other rows. Well, you would know something was wrong with the one who did that row and it affected the appearance of all the other rows!

Last year they were repainting the lines on the roads in the area where we live.   It must have been somebody new painting the lines. The middle double yellow lines on the road were crooked in many places, places where they should have been straight! It was the same with the white lines on the side of the road. They were not even. When somebody who has painted lines for some time does it, they look natural to the road design. These lines did not look natural to the road design and really caught your eye.

Just as it does not look right in fields where furrows are crooked or lines on the road are not straight where they are supposed to be, so it is not right when someone starts off serving our Lord and then “looks back.” The work is not what it is suppose to be and the service is not faithful and what is suppose to be accomplished is not being accomplished.   All because the focus of the person is not ahead on what the Lord desires, but looking back on what they desire.

Lot’s wife looked back to the things she was leaving behind in Sodom when told not to. Instead of looking ahead to the rescue our gracious Lord was giving her, she looked back in disobedience and it cost her her life. Destruction occurs when we do not “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.” Instead, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Keep our eyes ahead on Jesus and we will show by those actions we are “fit for the kingdom of God” by being and doing what He desires.   Our furrows will be straight, putting our hands to the plow and looking ahead, not behind!

Dear Father may I keep my eyes fix ahead on Jesus plowing, running, serving as You have set out the race before me. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord.   Yes, so be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLX83HbefrI&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw&index=13

LISTEN AND OBEY!

LISTEN AND OBEY!

Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. —Luke 9:12-17

 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. —Luke 9:23-26

And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” —Luke 9:35

            Are we listening to what Jesus has to say to us in these verses above? As you read those verses, what was He saying to you? Here is what I am hearing from Him.

            See I can feed multitudes, starting with a little and multiplying it a great host! “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus did this with bread to show us His power and authority that He has given us that same power and authority to make disciples all over the world— “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 28:18-20; 4:19; Acts 1:8). As Jesus multiplied the bread to feed multitudes, He wants to multiply the seed of His Word in you to reach multitudes for Him and for His glory and their benefit!   Will we be obedient and multiply the seed of His Word that He has given us in the lives of others that they too could know Him? Or, will we keep the seed of His Word to ourselves?

            Also, if we are truly going to follow Jesus we are to: 1-deny our selves 2- take up His cross daily and 3-follow Jesus. We are not to be selfish, but seek to be sensitive to how His Holy Spirit is leading us and be obedient. Our natural selves want comfort and following Jesus means it will not be comfortable at times. We are to take up His cross daily. We are to be an acceptable, holy, living sacrifice, not conforming to this world and then we will know His will. Be about the work that He has for us (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14). Be holy and be working, have a godly character and be about our God-given commission and 3- Follow Jesus— “let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith “Hebrews 12:1-2).

            Now will we be obedient to His Word or be ashamed of His Word? Will we proclaim His Word or will we keep His Word quiet? Will we go in the self-denial Authority He has given us or live selfishly? Will we allow Him to multiply the bread of His Word through us or keep what we have to ourselves? Will we trust and obey? How will I do so today?

Dear Father be pleased to help me see how You want to multiply the bread of Your Word through me to multitudes of others. Oh that this would be done in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yBzIt_z8oY

GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL!

GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL!

And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, —Judges 9:23

And God also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal. —Judges 9:57

 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” —Luke 8:24-25

When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.  And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. —Luke 8:27-39

            You cannot read these verses above and not understand that our God is sovereign over all things. He is in total control of evil spirits, storms and all things. Nothing is outside His knowledge, His power, His goodness or His presence…nothing, not even the corona virus. God surely is testing the faith of the church, seeking to correct the church, wanting the church to focus on what is truly important— being like Him (I John 2:6) and to finish the work He gave us to do (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20). Surely He is also using this corona virus for discipline and judgment. God works multifaceted purposes through what He does (Job 37:13).

            For the United States and the world— Do we think that God is going to be forever patient with the killing of multiple tens of millions of babies in the womb worldwide each year? Do you think He will be forever patient with the rampant sexual immorality world-wide every day of every year? Do you think He will be forever patient with the injustices all over this planet every year?   God is a God of love and He is also a God of wrath. Let this corona virus be a wake up call to the church— be His people and be about His business! Let this corona virus be a wake-up call to the lost. If you are afraid for your lives now in the present, you should be utterly fearful for what will happen after death is you do know call on Jesus (Romans 10:13; Revelation 20:15). Call on Him today, trust Him today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw&t=11s

Dear Father please help me to faithfully run the race You have marked out for me and to keep my eyes focused on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_Zep3-pOo4

OUR LORD GIVE THE VICTORY!

OUR LORD GIVES THE VICTORY!

And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” —Judges 6:14-16

But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon… —Judges 6:34

            Gideon was in a winepress threshing wheat to hide it from the Midianites so they would not take it. It is here that our Lord called him to save Israel from their enemies. The Lord said to him, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”  Gideon asked how it was possible that he would save Israel since he was from the weakest clan in Manasseh and he himself was the least in his father’s house. Yeh, Gideon did not see himself up to the task! But here is the key for Gideon and for us today— the Lord is the Sender and the Lord’s Presence with us and the Lord enables victory. Even as our Lord encouraged Gideon, Gideon only saw the task before him. He needed to understand obedience to the One who is with us and gives victory— even in the most dire of circumstances from the human perspective. We need to see from His perspective and understand His Presence and Power.

“The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me” (Judges 7:2). God was going to show Gideon His power as “the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance” (Judges 7:12). Gideon started with 32,000 men and the Lord guided him to send the 22,000 fearful men home. That left him with 10,000 men, but the Lord said that was too many. Then our Lord told Gideon only to keep the ones that brought water to their mouths went they drank. He sent home the 9,700 that got down on their knees to drink. Gideon was left with 300 men to fight against the eastern horde of enemies. But he was now not fearful because “the Spirit of the LORD clothed” him.

Our Lord then had Gideon divide “the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars” (Judges 7:16). When they were positioned and given the signal by Gideon, they blew the trumpets and cried out “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” (Judges 7:20). They broke the clay pots and with 300 men our Lord gave the victory. It is true what someone has said— “Little is much when God is in it.” Let us remember that in these days and for the rest of our lives. It is God’s power… not ours!

Dear Father we are also sent and You are also with us and we are temples of Your Holy Spirit. May we go forward in the battle call that You have given us and run the race You have marked out for us. May this be done in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xOCRYENXTk

JUDGMENT!

JUDGMENT!

 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.— Judges 2:11; 3:7; 3:12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1

So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. —Luke 7:30

            It is surely true that God is love (I John 4:8). God loves, but God also hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19). God is also compassionate, merciful and patient (Psalm 86:15; II Peter 3:9). But God’s Holy Spirit “will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:  about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:8-11). Judgment is not only coming upon Satan, but also on all who follow him, doing his will (II Timothy 2:26).

            Warnings of judgment are clear in the Book of Judges. Again and again the people did evil in the sight of the Lord.   He was patient, but then His patience ran out and He brought judgment upon them. Did they learn their lesson? It appears just briefly. They called on the Lord for deliverance and the Lord was merciful and gracious to them and delivered them from their enemies. But it did not take long for the people to do “what was evil in the sight of the Lord” again. The Israelites wanted to do “as they saw fit” or “what was right in their own eyes.” They did not want the Lord to be their King (I Samuel 8:7).

            We need to heed the warnings today. This corona virus is being used by God to get the world’s attention.   Look how one little germ has impacted the world! God can bring one nation against another in judgment, but He can also work through a germ to bring judgment on the whole world. Some might ask if this is a judgment from God. Why wouldn’t it be? You don’t think each nation on this planet has done evil in the Lord’s sight again and again and again? Is there any nation on this planet that wants Jesus as King? No! Just like the Israelites did not want Him King over them, so the nations of the world do not want Him as King over them. They want to do what they see fit or what is right in their own eyes.

           May this be a wake-up call for many because there is coming a time when “the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (Revelation 6:15-17). Nobody will be able to withstand His judgment and all who do not know Jesus will be “thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. And if anyone was found whose name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15). Those who do not know Jesus are in eternal danger right now—“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” and “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:18, 36). The call is to trust Jesus now! You do not know when you will draw your last breath. Today is the day of salvation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYZw0dfLmLk&t=37s 

Dear Father I am so grateful to know Jesus. Thank You for drawing me to Him. Now may I gratefully and thankfully live for Him in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QANH8MWuyaE

THE LACK OF WITNESS AND DISCIPLESHIP RESULTS

THE LACK OF WITNESS AND DISCIPLESHIP RESULTS

And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. —Judges 2:7-14

            So all the days that Joshua was alive the people serve the Lord. They did so until all the elders that outlived Joshua died as well. Then after all Joshua’s generation was gathered to the Lord “there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them.”

            How did that happen? What was missed that one generation served the Lord and then the next generation “did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” Did not know the Lord! Did not know the work He had done for Israel! In one generation! Apparently what did not happen was that witnessing of our Lord and discipleship in the Lord did not take place with the next generation.

Have we learned our lesson from this in America as a nation?   I think not! As a nation we have forgotten— “My Country Tis of Thee” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_HXqetzyb4   We are not remembering— “America the Beautiful” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3SPjk1ktRQ  Oh, may we return and see!— “Battle Hymn of the Republic” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2LZ9cVRkDw  May we once again as a nation see His glory!   Oh, that this next generation would know Him! That means this present generation needs to be faithful in witnessing and discipling the next generation. Oh, may it be so!

Dear Father may You be pleased to once again have mercy on us and extend Your grace to us. We do not deserve your grace. We deserve judgment, but might You be please to extend grace and mercy to us that we would be a Lighthouse of Truth and show forth Your glory. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. Yes, may You be pleased to do a new thing in this nation and may I be and do my part for Your glory. So be it!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-1fwZtKJSM

FEAR NOT DEATH!

FEAR NOT DEATH!

After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being 110 years old Joshua 24:29

            Death… comes to us all! Adam died.   Noah died. Abraham died. Joseph died.   Moses died and now Joshua died.   And you and I will die.

            Today many people are fearful that they may get this corona virus and die.   Listen, about 150,000 people die every day across this earth. How much do you hear about that? Here’s what I read—

  • 151,600 people die each day
  • 6,316 people die each hour
  • 105 people die each minute
  • Nearly two people die each second
  • 55.3 million people die each year

            I am reading that there have been almost 32,000 deaths worldwide from the corona virus. Yes, it is a new virus and yes it is serious and yes it kills. But so do so many other diseases, hunger, car accidents, drugs…   If the media mapped out all these happenings I wonder what the anxiety level would be for many people.  

            Death is always near. You and I could die at any time and it does not take a virus to do it. It is interesting how the fear of becoming sick from this virus has gotten so many people’s attention at the moment. Since the possibility of death has gotten your attention, deal with the real problem— your rebellion against the God who gave you life. When you know Him you do not have to fear death. It is said of Jesus—– “Now since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). We need not fear death if we truly know the Lord Jesus Christ. He has defeated death— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw&t=3s

            Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13). Call on Jesus today to save you and you need not fear death again!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMsMiluCUUI

Dear Father thank You that I never need fear death because I am safe in Jesus and I have eternity ahead of me with Jesus and all who love Him. Oh, that I would encourage others to trust Him that they too would not fear death, but know life in Him… forever. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. So be it.

OUR GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

OUR GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. —Joshua 21:45

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x8TZiwPGa0 (one of my favorite songs!)

            Ever have a parent make a promise to you when you were a child and then did not keep it? Ever have an employer make a promise and then did not keep it? Ever have a teacher that made a promise and then did not keep it?   Ever have a relative make a promise and then did not keep it? Ever have a friend that made a promise and then did not keep it? Ever have anyone make you a promise and then did not keep it?    Did you ever make a promise and then did not keep it?

            Men fail us at one time or another and we fail others at one time or another.   But God never fails us…NEVER! We can trust Him fully to carry out His promises.   His carrying out of His promises may not be in our time, but He will bring all His promises to pass… all of them!   Trust Him with His promises to you.   They will happen…

            Oh, we should be so grateful to know our Lord Jesus. One of the greatest promises that will come to pass is that we will be with Him one day. This was His desire for us— “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). Wow!   Jesus wants us to be with Him and see the glory He had since “before the creation of the world.” Brother and sister if that does not bring joy to your heart, nothing will? The promise is that we will be with Jesus. That is His desire for us! Do we truly desire to be with Him? Oh, may that be the case!

            So, whatever you are going through today keep your focus on His promises.   They will come to pass. No circumstance, no person, no nothing can keep that promise from happening (Romans 8:35-39). Praise God! He is the only One who keeps His promises 100%. Oh, may we learn from His example and keep our promises as well— “it’s better that you don’t promise than that you do promise and not follow through” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).  Keep your promises!

I am so grateful Dear Father to know that You always keep Your promises. Now, may I trust You fully even when things do not make sense, even when I don’t see how things are working out, even when the darkness caves in all around me— help me to wait on You. Yes, help me to wait on You in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord. So be it!

BE A FRIEND OF SINNERS!

BE A FRIEND OF SINNERS!

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” —Luke 5:27-32

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipwEtvWL_3c

           Is this the pattern we follow when someone responds to Jesus to follow Him?   Matthew responded to follow Jesus and the first thing he does is gathers all his peer friends together in the presence of Jesus. Can you imagine if this was the typical action of those responding to Jesus?   Think of how the gospel would be heard by many!

            Do we make the mistake of encouraging those who decide to follow Jesus away from their friends and peers? Of course there is the balance of not being yoked with them (II Corinthians 6:14), but Paul said “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I was not including the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a verbal abuser, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat” (I Corinthians 5:9-11). We are to associate with the lost and not isolate from the lost.

            The longer a person is following Jesus the greater tendency there is for being around those who know Jesus and a lesser tendency for being around the lost if we do not keep the biblical focus. It is more comfortable being around those following Jesus where we are accepted. Being around the lost and communicating the gospel to them will surely bring about rejection of that message, but that does not alleviate the responsibility we have to bring the gospel to them. This is expected of us (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). To not do so is disobedience.

            Jesus gave us the example and was called the “friend of sinners.” How fortunate are we that He is? Otherwise you and I would not have heard the gospel from those who follow Jesus’ example. Not let us continue following that example to be a friend of sinners—- for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:3-15). Oh, that we would have beautiful feet! 

Dear Father may I be a “friend of sinners” knowing that is where I came from before You drew me to Jesus. Be please to work in and through me to draw others to Yourself.   May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

BE FISHERMEN!

BE FISHERMEN!

Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. —Luke 5:3-11

            They had fished all night and had not caught even one fish! How many times did they cast their nets only to pull them in with nothing in them? All that work, all that labor, all night long for… nothing. Hear the defeat in Peter’s voice— ““Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!” And yet Peter, at Jesus’ word, responded— “But at your word I will let down the nets.” 

            All night long and had caught nothing. Then at Jesus’ word and their obedience in casting out the nets again, “they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.” They went from catching nothing all night to one cast of the net at Jesus’ word and they “signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” From no fish all night to one cast and then catching an abundance of fish— all at Jesus’ word.

            Peter realized something about Jesus in that moment and he was “astonished.”   This so impacted him that he confessed his own unworthiness to be in Jesus’ presence. Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  This is how Peter saw himself in the presence of Jesus. How did Jesus respond to Peter? Did He say to Peter, “Yes Peter, I know that you are a wicked, wretched sinner?”   No, instead Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Peter and his partners “brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

            Jesus knows all things about all men (John 2:25) and yet he still loves all men (John 3:16). He called us to follow Him. He called us to be “catching men.” Oh, may we be faithful in this. But we can only be faithful in catching men if we are not first faithful in fishing for men, trusting Jesus to guide us to the “catch.”

Dear Father please help me to be a faithful fisherman and may You be pleased to work through me to catch men to Yourself. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus because I cannot do this on my own.