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Are You Fishing?

Thought For The Week…

I have many memories from my childhood. One of my favorites is when I used to go fishing. The very first time I can ever remember going was with my Dad at the age of 5 years old. We ended up fishing under a bridge on HWY 158 where it crossed the East side of Belews Lake in North Carolina. We caught several small fish and I almost hooked my Dad in the face when casting! That would have been one fish I would not want to have caught!

Fishing is a pastime I still enjoy greatly. I am not as good as Peter, Andrew, James & John was in the Scriptures, but I do enjoy giving it a try every now and then. Whether you like fishing or not, Jesus used the fishing context on many occasions to help folks understand more about His Kingdom.

Jesus approached Peter and Andrew one day as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee. He told them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) The Bible says that they “straightway” or immediately left their fishing expedition along the banks of Galilee and followed Jesus to a different kind of fishing.

What Jesus taught His disciples to do is still being done today. It still works and is the method of choice when it comes to reaching people for Jesus Christ. Every child of God needs to tell folks about Jesus and what He has done for them personally!

You don’t catch a fish every time you go out, but you will catch fish along the way. This is no different in soul-winning. We need to keep sowing the seed of God’s Word into the hearts of men and women, boys and girls!

Are you involved in the fishing expedition that Jesus is leading? Are you looking for people to bring to Christ? If not, then get started today! Be faithful to tell someone every day. Pass out a Gospel tract or spend some time in a meaningful conversation about Jesus and how He wants to save people from their sins!

(Matthew 4:18-20) “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”  (KJV)

Are You Fearful?

Thought For The Week…

Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to express grief and frustration; isn’t it? What can you say about such a horrible act of terrorism Bostonians faced during their world renowned foot race? The Boston Marathon of April 15, 2013 will certainly be remembered!

As you, I watched the news coverage with bewilderment. I asked myself, “Why would someone want to do such a thing?” For the next several days, I began trying to piece together a possible motive for this wicked and cowardly act. I suddenly realized that it might not be some complicated, yet deranged, philosophical ideology, but may be something as simple as trying to cause others to fear. If you have watched any news coverage at all or if you have seen any photos related to this sad situation, then you have seen some of the devastating effects of fear.

It is perfectly normal to be fearful of some things. For example, I am fearful of certain reptiles. However, you might be like my friend of mine who is not scared of a snake, but will jump out of his skin if he sees a spider! I would have certainly been fearful of those who set the bombs off if I lived near the Boston area, but we need to remember to look to God for help at all times; especially during times like these.

Jesus sent out his twelve disciples into a hostile environment, and He gave specific instructions as to what He wanted them to do. One of the memorable remarks Jesus made to His disciples at this time has made a tremendous impact on me as a pastor. He said in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus was trying to encourage these men to not allow the fear of man to manipulate their actions. They should fear God and trust Him rather than adopt situation ethics and fail to do what they we supposed to do.

Jesus’ words are as relevant as ever! You and I should not operate out of fear, but FAITH! Faith is the answer to fear. By FAITH, we should stand upon God’s promises and carry out His commands though our hands may tremble in the foggy shadows of Satan’s roaring!

Are You Giving Your Best?

Thought For The Week…

My Grandma (who is now with our Lord) used to speak about my Great Grandpa to all of the Grandchildren. On these rare occasions when she did speak about him, it was usually a statement which was meant to drive home a point she was trying to make.

One Spring day I was trying to do something for Grandma around the yard. I was working hard to please her and, as we say where I grew up, “I worked up a sweat!” We took a break for a moment and Grandma said to me, “Andrew, you work just like my Daddy! You are going at this like you are fighting fire!” I was proud that she noticed my effort and it was even more meaningful to know that she thought I was working like my Great Grandpa.

My Grandma will never know just how important here compliment was to me. I have since tried always work hard at whatever I do. I am a little slower now, but I still try to do my best to put my heart into what I am doing!

Please forgive me for speaking of myself in this manner, but I wanted to point out a couple of things from this illustration. First, we should seek to positively encourage our family; especially children! You will never really know what kind of impact you can make by an appropriate compliment. Second, we should give our best when doing anything. If something is worth doing, it is worth our best! Finally, as a child of God, we should seek to serve God and please Him… giving Him our BEST!

The rewards of service far outweigh the repercussions of hard labor. I have seen families exhaust themselves trying to carry out ministry. In the midst of the tears, sweat and heart aches that can stem from such work, it is still worth every mile!

Our Lord Jesus, made it abundantly clear that He would return one day. He also intimated that He would reward His faithful children for their labors. Revelation 22:12 states, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Are you giving your best for Jesus? Are you putting your heart into your arena of service?

Are You Making A Difference?

Thought For The Week…

Someone has stated that a local church is only as strong as the families which make up its membership. I tend to agree with that remark to a point. If that quote has any validity, then rest assured that every Christian home has a target on its back!

One need not look very far to see how our homes are under an assault on many fronts. Of course, we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices and we know that he is orchestrating all kinds of attacks. Some from the world in general, others from the political realm, and even some from within the church itself!

Even though we may be weary from the battles we are facing, we should take courage. Paul, under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, encouraged the Galatians to remain faithful in spite of circumstances. He said, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I say, “AMEN!” to that! How about you?

In our Old Testament, we can draw strength from Joshua’s example. This stalwart faced many challenges in his life, yet he remained true. Sometimes we think that when we get “old”, whatever age that is, we will not have to face any more battles. Think again! Towards the end of Joshua’s journey of life, he faced one of his hardest days.

Many of Israel’s numerous families had been drawn away after the sinful practices and godless idolatry of the land. Joshua called them to the carpet, and God has preserved what he said to them for us in Joshua 24:15. Notice what was said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” WOW! As a result of this challenge, Joshua’s contemporaries got right with God.

May each of us, like Joshua, decide to strengthen our resolve to live for Jesus Christ! No matter what our neighbors think, may we be faithful to humbly live for Christ and let our light shine in this dark, depraved world! We CAN make a difference!