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Monday, March 27, 2017

Gone Fishing

One of the most poignant stories in the Bible, to my mind, is the one where Peter and the disciples decided to go fishing after Jesus's death. I say poignant because Peter's words, "I go a fishing," (John 21: 3), and the disciples' readiness to accompany him, show a sense of boredom, futility and even a sense of loss.

I can just picture these men, sitting idly in their boat, casting pebbles into the river, watching the sun set, and occasionally emitting a sigh. They needed to be doing something, but what? Their Lord and Master with whom they had traveled the country for the past three years, had gone and left them. Oh, He was alive. They'd seen Him, ate with Him, but where was He now? Did He even care about them any more?

And so these men who had been fishermen before they began their ministry with Jesus, returned to what they once knew. Makes sense, doesn't it? When the wife, husband, friend or whomever  you counted on leaves you high and dry, you return to the old life. Back to the club, the bottle, the dope, the old lifestyle. Anything that would keep you occupied, whether it's wholesome or not.

But something strange happened. These seasoned fishermen failed to get so much as a nibble. They returned with empty nets. This is what happens when you try to go back to the old life. You are in for a rude awakening. There is nothing there for you anymore. The friends are gone. What used to satisfy, no longer does. The pond has dried up.

My heart breaks for Peter and his friends. But wait. Jesus comes to their rescue. They don't recognize Him at first because they have been away from Him for a while. And He says to them, "Children, have ye any meat?" (v 5). 

Notice how tenderly He addresses them. He feels their pain, their disappointment, their hopelessness. He also knows their needs. These men had been with Him for three years. During that time, they'd given up their means of earning a living, and now with Jesus gone, they are left to fend for themselves, and they are most likely broke. Or near broke. But Jesus, our Jehovah-jireh provides for them. He tells them, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find" (v 6).

Friends, hear me. When Jesus seems far away, when those we count on run out on us, that is not the time to go fishing. You will only come up empty handed and depressed. Those disciples could have gone looking for Jesus. They could have inquired of Him, "Lord, what should we do?" But instead they gave in to disillusionment and went fishing.

But Jesus, in His love and mercy, found them, supplied their needs and gave Peter a new assignment, "Feed my sheep," (v 16; 17).

Are you going fishing? Has life dealt you a disappointing blow and you are ready to give up? Don't turn back now. Look to Jesus. 

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 29: 13

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring, Lovely Spring

Garden with some tulips and narcissusImage via WikipediaThis is a post I wrote some years ago when I first started blogging. Having been away from my computer for a while, too long a while, I decided to search some old posts to find something that would get my creative juices flowing. And sure enough, I came across this post, perfect for the beginning of spring. I have repurposed it a little to make it more relevant.
Spring is here! Isn't it wonderful the way God redecorates the landscape so there is always something new to grab our senses and delight our minds? I love the changing of the seasons. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in a tropical climate where there are only two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. It was only when I migrated to the United States that I experienced the four seasons. I remember the first time I saw snow, I was like a kid again, a grown woman making snowballs and throwing at my friends. Then fall came and filled me with awe, and still does.

There is beauty and purpose in every season. I don't mind the short, gray days and the naked boughs of winter because I know they don't last. The sun will shine again, tender green leaves will appear on those boughs and flowers will spring out of the ground. Perpetual summer or winter could not sustain life. We need heat and cold, moisture and drought in order to sustain life on this planet.

The changing of the seasons reminds me that:

1. God is faithful. He is always with us, whether we think of Him or not. Like a good parent, He is preparing our food, our comfort and doing all the extra little things to give us pleasure. Acts 14: 17 says, "... and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."

2. God is a God of order. Even though environmentalists speak of climate change, weather systems throughout the world remain well-defined. Spring comes faithfully after winter, summer follows spring and so on. We experience heat in summer and cold in winter. Hot climates remain hot and cold climes remain cold. Spring is always the season of birth and new beginnings, winter the season of death and decay.

3. God speaks to us through the seasons. Oswald Chambers says, "When you have thoughts and ideas that are worthy of credit to God, learn to compare and associate them with ... the changing of the seasons." (My Utmost For His Highest). I couldn't agree more. The seasons of the earth reflect the seasons of our lives. Just as God rearranges the environment to suit His purpose, in the same way He arranges our lives into seasons so we can grow and develop into the spiritually healthy and happy beings He created us to be. Just trust Him, regardless of the season. 


Speaking of the seasons of our lives, I would like to introduce you to my book Women For All Seasons, which uses stories of women of the Bible to show how God works in and through us in every season of our life. Check it out here.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Better Than Solomon

As I took this picture of my orchids this morning, these words of Jesus came to my mind: "Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these" (Matthew 6: 29). Jesus was telling His audience that they must not worry, not about what they would eat or drink or what they would wear (v 25). Jesus continued, " If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" (v 30).

Every time I look at those orchids on my patio I'm reminded of the beauty of God, the faithfulness of God and the providence of God. I care for those orchids to the best of my ability, but it is God who really causes them to grow and bloom the way they do. I went away for two weeks and watered them well before I left. But while I was gone I worried that I might return and find them all shriveled up. Instead, I was greeted with these gorgeous blooms. That was God's doing. And if He could do it for flowers, how much more would He do for us, His children?

So let's do as Jesus said:  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (v 33-34).