Fishing: Intention & The Big Picture

(part 5 of 5)

Don generally fishes with a “catch & release” mentality. He enjoys being outdoors and kayaking around in the summer sun with birds chirping and wildlife soaring and scurrying around. On a regular day his time is spent in meetings and meeting deadlines and so this slow pace, with no official expectation, other than to get away from regular duties and enjoy nature, is a great way to relax.

On the contrary, when satan uses his lures and bait, he is fishing for keeps. If he can get us hooked on any number of things that can wreak havoc on our lives he is accomplishing what he has set out to do. And we, sinners that we are, willingly succumb to the temptations that the world has to offer. Even if we get snagged in a serious way, caught and transported across the world in foreign waters and a long way from “home”, God longs to negotiate our release. It requires a recognition of our sinful nature and a heart surrendered to Him.

Why did Jesus ask for fisherman to be fishers of men?

Let’s take another look at God’s Word:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-22 NIV]

Living beside the Sea of Galilee meant their daily sustenance involved a lot of fish so it was essential to know how to fish successfully! Jesus called four people who had similar experiences and two sets of brothers. Interesting. Living and working side by side requires an awful lot of patience and respect and negotiation — even if we aren’t fishing. These four had some common experiences and likely had learned to relate well to one another and were a source of encouragement and support while fishing on the water. All those are important for discipling “on land”.

An awareness of the climate, weather, access points, and location are all things fisherman learn. Fisherman also know their equipment and keep it in good repair. They are always open to learning and have a lot of patience. A good fisherman knows there isn’t any point trying to fish in a hurry. It usually takes a lot of time.

I am so thankful for what God is teaching me. He is so relevant even in areas where I can hardly relate. I am really not a big fan of fishing but I am a big fan of spending time with Don. Who knew I would “catch” all this about fishing just by tagging along?

And where are you? What principles are you “catching” from your environment? And what ideas are others catching from you? I pray we are all sharing Biblical principles in our uniquely gifted ways!

PrayerPoint ~ Let’s Be Real ~ March 24

Do you find it hard to be real? Is it hard to admit you sometimes respond in a less than ideal way when confronted with a conflict in your home? Are there days when it is just plain ugly at your house? You know, the kind of day when nothing is said the right way or heard the right way and the tension makes you want to puke? Or am I the only one that has those?

  • The kids are out of control and you dread the moment you are ‘found out’.
  • You and your spouse been at odds for years but all you see are the seemingly happy-go-lucky couples skipping through life together.
  • You are barely squeaking by, paycheck-to-paycheck , and you have thousands of dollars in credit card debt as well as a mortgage and a car loan.
  • There are weeks or months when you don’t even glance towards your Bible.
  • You have forgotten how to pray.

Satan does his best work in the dark. He likes to isolate us and convince us that everything is incredible in everyone else’s home but ours. Don’t believe him for a minute. He has always been a liar.

There is always a risk when we reveal something personal in our lives. It is true not everyone will understand or relate to our struggle, but if we would be real and honest with ourselves (and others) we might find we aren’t the only ones who are tired of the facade of perfection. We each are in desperate need of God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and grace.

If you find you are groping around in the dark, allow God’s Light and God’s Word to illuminate your situation.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:5-8 NIV

Regular church attendance, personal and small group Bible study, and strong Christian friends who will pray for  you as well as encourage and challenge you are all  great ways to hear God’s Word and His Truth. Take a risk, be real, and get connected. No one has a perfect life here on Earth although I think there are definitely “seasons” in life.

May your Spring come soon!

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ The Ears ~ February 27

PrayerPoint ~ The Ears

I don’t know why but I am always amazed at the lyrics I remember, word for word, of songs from the 70’s even if I haven’t heard them for 20 years. It’s a little scary that they are tucked away so deep within me that a song can bring them out and the recollection as well as a renewed understanding of the meaning comes rolling off my tongue.
What I am listening to is extremely important–whether it be music or even those thoughts that run around in my head and masquerade as God’s truth. It is so easy to engage the ear without also being discerning about what I am listening to. In some circumstances I am stuck hearing what I hear, but I don’t have to listen to it. I can tune out that noise and not give it any place in my brain. But there are other days when I just take it all in and wonder why I am feeling overwhelmed and insecure and unappreciated.
Maybe you have some of the very same problems. It isn’t so hard to listen to a lie. After all, Adam and Eve were living in a perfect world and in fellowship with their Creator and they listened to the serpent. You don’t have to believe everything you hear and you don’t have to listen to it either. Discerning God’s truth takes practice as well as a lot of time in His Word. If you are not in a regular Bible study, I recommend meeting with a small group or even just making sure you are in His Word each day. Find encouraging verses to memorize. It will be music to your ears!
Blessings on your week!
Liz

Walking Wounded

Do you know people who function day-to-day but their words or action indicate they are wounded? Maybe they speak with anger or make cutting remarks around you and it actually makes it hard to be near them. There are many reasons that people lash out (sometimes they are tired or overwhelmed) and we don’t always get to know the why behind what we see.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away. Psalm 38:11

If someone comes to your mind, please lift them up in prayer today. I do think if you see a consistent pattern of ‘meanness’ that there is probably something else going on there. Wounded people wound people…often because of where they are in their pain. And while their actions or attitude might drive you away from them, it is often then that they really need a friend. Whether or not you are called to be that friend, I don’t know. But if God has allowed you to cross paths with this person, your prayer intercession on their behalf is an amazing gift.

If it is you that is wounded, seek healing. God is in the business of transforming ugly circumstances and situations into evidences of His mercy and grace. There are 190 versions of the word ‘heal’ in the New International Version of the Bible.  Psalm 38 is a powerful petition from a hurting David. His pain is evident.  As you begin your journey of healing, find a friend who will pray for you. Then find a Biblical counselor or pastor to sort out the situation and dig into God’s Word and God’s Truth. God’s healing work often begins with humble hearts.

A refreshing stream in Colorado

Boundaries

When I was younger, I loved to push the limit and see how close to the line I could come. I used to resent boundaries and consider them a challenge to overtake. Can you relate? Amazingly enough, I have kids who do the very same thing. It must be a part of that sinful, human nature.

I have learned many difficult lessons in life because I overstepped boundaries, didn’t enforce boundaries, and ignored boundaries. I am still learning, often the hard way. Boundaries are important in marriage, parenting, friendships, work relationships and are more than just a benefit.

Boundaries are a blessing.

Consider that God has placed boundaries around you for your protection–He tells you to stay away from certain things so you will be pure. God wants you to be safe from sin and danger and He helps you to do that by telling you things to avoid. He wants you to heed His words, for your blessing and benefit.

And wouldn’t it be great if we had no boundaries for God?
Allowed Him access to every dark corner of our lives?
Recognized that He supersedes physical boundaries by being omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent?

Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God’s boundaries are good!

Waiting (is the hardest part)

Have you ever had a day (or a season) when the future looked very uncertain and you were called to wait for an answer and you waited, and waited, and waited? The waiting felt terminal–with many things hinging upon that one answer.

Here are some things that I have found helpful–

  • find a couple of Bible verses that communicate God’s promises–memorize them.
  • review your life, what has God done for you in the past? Remember His provisions and repeat them. It does help to recall His previous provisions.
  • let God change the course of your life. There are times when we are convinced we have a plan and it isn’t necessarily the direction God would like us to go. Remember, we are the clay–He is the Potter! Sometimes God wants you to give up your job, your house, the community you live in.
  • Stay in God’s Word! Satan wants to steal your courage…surround yourself with God’s promises.

Here is a great Psalm! What words stand out for you?

Psalm 145 (NIV)

A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.  2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works. [b]
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made. [c]
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

If you are struggling as you wait, hang on….He is with you…

Speed Limits

Speed Limit 5, Speed Limit 45, Speed Limit 70, Speed Limit 80, School Zone, Construction Zone….most speed limits are posted in an effort to protect those who are living or active in a particular area.  We have a new driver in our home and so we have been paying pretty close attention to speed limits. Sometimes I overlook them, resent them, miss them. In general, I try to follow them but it is hard when you feel like you are the only one!

Have you noticed there are times when life moves so slowly? Maybe you are waiting for a report from the doctor or your are in a time of life when you are out of your element, bumbling along. Other times life moves rather quickly and you find you are traveling almost at the speed of light! Different parts of life seem to happen at different speeds. If you have grown children, maybe it feels like the kids grew up so fast or maybe it felt like forever to you. There are times I have found myself trying to ‘speed’ through some experiences that I would really rather not be in the middle of.

Has that ever happened to you?

Hurry, hurry, get me out of here!!! Sometimes God allows us to see His speed limits on our situations. Sometimes He makes us stop and lie down in green pastures so He can restore our souls. Have you ever found yourself resisting the limits or trying to close your eyes and breeze past anyway?

Think about how God uses speed limits in your life. Where are the places He would like you to slow down and take notice of His activity? You may be walking through a difficult time, but if time seems to move slowly maybe it is time to take look around thoughtfully and prayerfully. What is God doing during this time? Dig into God’s Word and notice the times when it appeared things were moving at a snail’s pace. Our time frame is certainly not God’s! Where is He going and at what pace? Is there something I can or should be doing in this time of speed limits?

Heavenly Father, please help me see the speed limits you would like me to follow in my life. Give me your insight and heighten my awareness during a restricted speed zone so I can see what is happening around me and not endanger others with reckless speeds. Thank you for Your protection and blessing in my life!