Friday, April 30, 2021
The question is, how will you handle those difficult times, not if they come, but how will you handle those difficult times when they come? Because they will come.
Friday, April 30, 2021
As I said, it's like a cycle, they come in waves. And we see Jesus illustrating this for us when he invites Peter to walk with him on the water of the Sea of Galilee. Just a little background, Jesus had just performed this incredible miracle, the feeding of the 5000, as it's called, with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus dismisses the disciples. He tells them after this speaking engagement to go in the boat and cross the sea of Galilee. He tells them he will meet them there on the other side. So, Jesus stays behind, goes up on a mountain, and he wants to be by himself so he can pray to his father. Then, in order to to meet up with the disciples, Jesus begins to walk across the Sea of Galilee. So again, the disciples went ahead of him, Jesus needs to catch up. And here it is, he's walking on water. The passage tells us that the water was kind of rough. In fact, it says the wind was strong, and the waves were buffeting against the boat. So, you can imagine how freaked out the disciples were, since the waters were a bit rough, and all of a sudden there's a person walking on the water towards the boat. We see in Matthew 14:27-29 Jesus says to them in that moment, '"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
Let's go back to the first thing as we wrap up. Back to what Jesus said to the disciples as he was approaching the boat. He said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Someone watching this needs to write that down right now. "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Remind yourself daily to take your courage, the courage that Jesus gives to you to keep your eyes on Jesus throughout the problem, and to not be afraid. Fear is the opposite of faith. Where there is fear, there's a lack of faith. Jesus will see you through your problems. I hope you find that encouraging. I hope that brings a lift to your week. And I want to encourage you to do one final thing. Don't just have a great day. Go and make a great day.
Monday, April 26, 2021
Jesus wants us to use a hook and some bait. You see Jesus is that hook, but we have to provide the bait.
Monday, April 26, 2021
The response of Peter and Andrew is seen in verse 20. I find this just as intriguing because verse 20 says this, "Immediately they left their nets, and followed him." That's the part that really got a hold of me, because it was that very night after reading that verse, that I immediately got down on my knees, and receive Jesus Christ in my life as my Lord and my Savior for the very first time. But here's the thing. I wasn't a fisherman. Yes, I fished before. I knew what it meant to use a rod and a reel. But I knew nothing about what it meant to fish for the souls of people. And that's when Jesus began to, over time, show me how he wants me to use my gifts and my abilities that he gave me to attract other people to him. Now, Peter and Andrew, they were commercial fishermen. When they went out to fish, they used a net and would drop the net into the water, and they would pull it in, and the net allowed them to catch dozens, or 50, or maybe even 100 fish at a time. But in my experience with Jesus, he often wants us to fish for one person at a time. So instead of using a net, Jesus wants us to use a hook and some bait. You see Jesus is that hook, but we have to provide the bait.
So let me ask you a question. What are you good at? What gifts and abilities has God given you? What hobbies do you have? At work are you on a team, or maybe you're a part of a group? What clubs or organizations do you belong to? These can all be that bait. You see, when you decide to follow Jesus, He will use your gifts and your skills, your activities and your interests, the connections and relationships that you have. He will use those as the bait on the hook. He will use the things that you have in common with people to help you build deeper relationships and friendships so that you can eventually share your faith in him. For me, that bait is often music. God has opened up the door for me to be involved in a few different pit orchestras, playing the guitar for local high school productions. And music is that bait on the hook that has allowed me to meet other musicians who I would not normally get a chance to meet and build friendships with them. And there's always those one or two musicians that God has put me in with, where he's opened the door for me to get to know, share my faith and invite them to come to church. So I want to ask you this. Where can you build relationships? Are there people that you have things in common with, common interests? Begin praying and ask God if he wants you to use this as bait to attract people to him. You may be the one person that God wants to use in someone's life, to share the gospel with them, and to have them come to know Jesus in a personal way. Will you accept Jesus's invitation? You've probably already accepted the invitation to follow him. But will you be a fisher for the souls of men and women? I hope you guys find encouragement in that today. I hope you feel challenged in that today. And I want to encourage you right now, don't just go and have a great day. Go and make a great day.