John 21:6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
“An elderly lady was once asked by a young man who had grown weary in the fight, whether he ought to give up the struggle. “I am beaten every time,” he said dolefully. “I feel I must give up.” “Did you ever notice,” she replied, smiling into the troubled face before her, “that when the Lord told the discouraged fishermen to cast their nets again, it was right in the same old spot where they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing?””
This story makes me think how important it is to be fervent in our Christian lives. How many times have you started to think “what’s the use?” and start to give up on a prayer or situation, etc? The season for the movement if the Lord’s hand upon that prayer or person might begin tomorrow. Expect that it will be each day and one day, in His time, it will be!
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
The services today at my church seemed to focus mainly on prayer and our attitude toward God. Part of the discussion was about prayer reaching or not reaching God. Bro. Edison used a good analogy: if you called ten random digits on your phone and asked the person that answered for $100 you’re not going to get anything from that person. But if you called your closet relative in need and they were able to provide you’d have your need met.
In our verse today, Paul basically says that any thing we do must be out of love or else it’s just noise to God. The Bible teaches that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; in other words, we are to love Him with all our being. If we truly love Him we will be doing His will and we are His children. To pray rightly that a result may be anticipated (for anything other than salvation of forgiveness) we must know Him then, if you will. To expect an answer from Someone you don’t know or haven’t “been in contact with” is a lot like calling that unknown number and asking for $100; chances are very good you’ll not be receiving any response.
This past week the association that my home church belongs to held it’s annual revival. It is a full week of meetings, Monday through Saturday evenings, with business meetings and worship services during the day on Friday and Saturday, culminating on Sunday with Sunday school and a memorial service in the afternoon. At some point most, if not all, of the 37 churches of the association are represented, along with folks visiting from other churches and associations from as far away as Alabama and Missouri. It is a wonderful opportunity to worship and fellowship with folks you don’t see often and ones that you meet for the first time. It is also a great blessing to see how this diverse body comes together as one in the Lord during this time.
I was blessed to attend almost all of the events, missing Saturday evenings service. As I said, the worship, fellowship and the songs of praise were just outstanding. We were truly in one mind and one accord, so much so that each night the choir, which was never made up of the same folks, sounded like a group that sang together regularly for years. The Spirit of God flowed through out the week in all aspects of the meetings.
As enjoyable as this week was, I have to tell you I’m looking so very forward to Wednesday night this week. You see, due to the weeks meeting and other church events prior to that we’ve not met in our home church in about two weeks. And though I greatly enjoyed the fellowship of the brothers and sisters from the other churches, I miss my “family” at Gethsemane something terrible. It’s so sweet to have brothers and sisters in Christ that you (I) feel are truly family. Though I love all the brethren, that little group of Christians that makes up the Body of Gethsemane United Baptist Church holds an extra dear spot in my heart. I hope and pray that each of you are as blessed with a home church and “family” as I am. And I thank my God for each of them and for planting among them.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
A farmer was showing his fine orchard to a friend who admired its neat and regular appearance. “But,” said the friend, pointing to a peculiarly shaped tree, “if that were my tree I’d root it up in order to preserve the uniformity of the orchard.” The farmer smiled and said that he was more interested in the fruit than in the form. “This tree,” he said, “has yielded me more fruit than any of those trees that conform to a more regular pattern.”
Sometimes Christian workers may become so accustomed to doing things in what they consider the traditional or time-honored way that they forget to evaluate its productiveness. We must remember that doing something because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t necessarily make it the best way.
Psalm 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
I heard a portion of a song on the radio the other day. I don’t know who the artist was, the name of the song, or even the exact lyrics. But a portion of the chorus stuck with me.
The point of the song, as I understood it, was speaking about our Christian lives and what they should be like. It said something to the effect that “it’s got to be more like falling in love, not just something to believe in. More like giving my heart, not just following a cause”. (I’m sure the actual words were a bit different, but you get the general idea.)
I can’t help but to think how true this thought is. Our walk with Christ isn’t/should not be just about a cause or tradition, an idea or mere belief. No, our lives are anew in Christ Jesus. We are new creatures after our new birth. Our walk of faith is one of reality, of an intimate, personal nature with intimate, personal, Living Savior. Our souls should truly, as the psalmist wrote, pant and long for God’s presence and touch in our lives. If we are lacking that deep yearning we need to find an alter of prayer and stay there until He shows us why it is lacking. And then cry out to Him so as to set our relationship right with Him so we can re-kindle that passion. When it all boils down, this is all about love: Love for Christ, love for another.
Charles Spurgeon wrote “The lives of some of God’s people fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways which God used in their case to find his own”. Being a child of the Living God, we all have an “adoption story”. Though that testimony may not seem all the extraordinary to us, it may well be just the tool that the Lord plans to use in another person’s life to bring the knowledge of their need for a Savior to them. Share how you came to know Christ with someone this week. Then trust Him to use that testimony as He sees fit.
Hebrews 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
I happened across this little story this evening and thought I’d share it with you:
“When I first enrolled in seminary, I found an apartment room next to a railroad crossing. I wondered why the apartment rent was so cheap-and found out the first night. A train came through in the middle of the night, blasting its horn. It didn’t?’t just wake me up, but also nearly gave me a heart attack! Every night when the train came through, it blew the horn. At first I thought about changing apartments, but then I started getting used to the nightly awakenings. I would wake up for a few seconds, then go right back to sleep. Eventually I got where the train horn didn’t even wake me up. I hardened my heart to the train and couldn’t hear it any more. The same hardening process occurs when God speaks to our hearts and we don’t respond. Eventually, we stop hearing His voice because our hearts have become hard. “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”.”
What a terrible thought it is to harden your heart against the Lord. But, just like in the story with the sound of the trains whistle, that is exactly what folks do when they hear and know the Gospel yet continually ignore God’s call. As has been well said, that is a dangerous game to play with eternal consequence.
Do you know someone like this? Make a special effort to spend extra time in prayer for them, the the Lord may soften the hard hearts before it’s everlasting too late.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
Tonight I was blessed to have my first preaching appointment, having announced my calling last week to my home church. I’m still in awe that God would see fit to use me for such a position. And I’m humbly grateful that He finds me useful for anything to further His Kingdom.
My text was mostly the third chapter of 2 Thessalonians. The above referenced verse brought a thought to mind, one I don’t think I had earlier. I remember once hearing a fellow say to an older gentleman “I don’t believe there really is a devil”. The older man replied “Try resisting him a while, then tell me you don’t believe he’s real”.
There’s no doubt that Satan is real. There’s also no doubt that he’s looking to trip each one of us up every chance, in divers ways, that he can. But, praise God, our Lord is faithful and all powerful. We may still have many battles to fight but Jesus has already secured the victory! Just hold fast to Him; He will never fail you.