Casting Nets on Ordinary Days

“Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, ‘Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.’ They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.”  Matthew 4:18-20, MSG   How many times did they cast their nets into that sea? How many days of fishing had weathered their skin? How many conversations, laughs, frustrations had that boat seen? But something made that day different. That was the day Jesus stepped into the ordinary. I’m continually reminded that I don’t know the plans of the Lord. We don’t know His days or His hours. We live these “ordinary” days, casting our nets and pulling up fish (or walking to class and swiping into the dining hall), and yet the Lord is moving all the while. How many moments had they lived; had led up to the moment of Christ’s call? Moments that seemed monotonous, routine, insignificant. Moments spent waiting, wondering if there was more. Moments of laughter and frustration and tears that brought them to that specific boat, on that specific place in the water, at that specific point in time, where their hearts were in the perfect posture to drop everything for Jesus. We get into these traps of waiting for that moment. And while the Lord may be preparing us for something in the future, we don’t know that. What He does tell us is...

A Good Plan

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 Lately I’ve found myself in a little bit of a funk about life. We’re in the throws of the fast lane of life with so much going on. My husband’s work schedule is crazy, the demands of a preschooler and toddler are demanding, areas where I serve and everything else that goes with life – it can be exhausting.  If I’m really honest, I’ve given myself over to the sin of self-pity and even bitterness at times. I get upset with my husband because of the demands of his job, the kids when they don’t respond or act as I want them to and on it goes. And then, if someone dares to ask how I am, I can lead myself down an even deeper trail of “woe is me, life is tough”. But as a follower of Christ, is this the right response? Sure it’s okay to admit the demands of life are hard and circumstances can stretch us paper thin, but is there a difference in my sufferings or hardships? How do I view the daily grind or the circumstances of life? Am I speaking of these God-ordained circumstances with honor? Isaiah tells us in his account of Jesus that He never spoke a word about His mistreatments or sufferings or injustices. He never stood up for Himself. He never demanded His rights or happiness. In fact, in Matthew...

Do You Need a Rescuer?

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” Colossians 1:13 Wesley rescues Buttercup from the villain. The prince rescues Rapunzel from imprisonment in the tower. Frodo saves the kingdom from Sauron. Aslan comes just in time. Oh, to be rescued! At just the right moment –when all seems lost. Who doesn’t love a rescuer? The fireman who rescues a baby from a burning building. A policeman who arrives just in time to stop a murder. A soldier who helps save a town under attack. The calvary that comes to save the day. The evil lord…those captured against their will…the plan to destroy… The moment it seems evil is winning. This is the story of our world. All stories of rescue come from the One True Story. A perfect kingdom: The Garden of Eden The Beloved: Adam and Eve The evil lord captures them and plans their doom: Satan deceives. The Beloved is facing death: All mankind The Rescuer comes: Jesus Christ He sacrifices Himself in order to rescue those He loves. For all who trust Him and follow Him out of darkness, He leads them into the Kingdom of Light where they will live with Him forever! Rescued. Forever safe. Forever His. The evil lord is defeated never to return. This is the story we all love. This is the story of all mankind. All people are His beloved. Anyone who trusts in our Prince and follows Him out of darkness will be rescued. The evil lord is defeated and one day will be destroyed never...

Let your LIGHT shine…

TONIGHT at midnight the GIVEaway for HOPE ends. BE sure to visit THIS POST, faith, HOPE and love to enter and hear the story of a way to spread HOPE! “let your LIGHT shine before men, that they may SEE your good deeds and PRAISE the Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16 Regardless of how you feel about Halloween; Regardless of the controversises that arise at this time of the year; Regardless of how you feel about giants (aka known as teenagers) coming to your door; Regardless of  YOUR opinion on Halloween, here’s the deal. It’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to be reminded to be a light. It’s an opportunity to see those glowing gourds and remember the command in Matthew 5:16 which we all too often forget. The command that says, “LET THEM SEE…”   Let them see who you are folks who call themselves Christians. Let them see the difference in your lives. Let them see what it means to LOVE WELL. Let them see Jesus… It’s not that hard, but let’s be real, we sometimes HIDE it. We sometimes give it out sparingly or worse yet, only to those, you know, in the circle. Let the light, which we ALL know isn’t ours, reflect OUTWARD to those in your sphere of influence and maybe, just maybe, we can authentically show the LOVE of Jesus one interaction at a time, Halloween or...

Forgotten Groceries

I went grocery shopping for a few items, and I when I put my car into park on the driveway, I did what is very typical of me: I tried to carry every single grocery bag into my house in one trip. Since my hands were both draped with bags of heavy groceries, I was unable to close the car door. From the start, I knew I would eventually have to make a trip back to close it. Once I made it to my front porch, I had to set down some bags so I could unlock and open the door. Finally, when I made it into the house, I had to flex every single one of my arm muscles in order to set the groceries on the kitchen counter. As I walked outside to close the car door, I noticed that I had left a bag behind. Good thing I couldn’t close the car door, I thought. I would have spoiled that bag of groceries. But God knew that I left a bag behind, so He made sure that I would have to make another trip. I think so many times women become caught up in this trap of trying to do everything at once. We want to be good mothers, wives, influential Christians who have stellar careers, and we want to do it all at the same time. However, when we try to do everything in one trip, we inevitably leave something behind. And so many times, God will lead us back on another trip to see what we had forgotten. We may find ourselves too busy...

Ferguson In Our Backyard

***This post was originally published on LIVE IT OUT! blog.   I’m certain that I am not the only one who feels horrified, confused, dismayed by the tragedy in Ferguson, MO. Though I really don’t have the full picture in mind of what really happened, (does anyone, really?) my heart cries out to God on behalf of all parties effected. Prayer is the first thing that we all should turn to, especially those of us that have no way of changing the circumstances…no way of getting involved directly. God hears our prayers, the prayers of those who say, Lord…what can we do? Do you feel that way, too? Like you are helpless to make things better, helpless to be an ambassador of peace and mercy in a town that could honestly be any town in the middle of the United States of America. Church! RISE UP! Ferguson is your backyard and my backyard. What would happen if the church took it’s place as the light on the hill in every town and city. What would happen if God’s people took responsibility in their own back yard in a radical way? Would we prevent a Ferguson in our own backyards…. ***I want to emphatically say that I have NO DOUBT that the local churches in the greater St. Louis area are and have been heavily involved in their communities. I have seen it first hand in that area.*** Church: that is the corporate and the individual. If you proclaim Jesus as your source of grace, forgiveness, mercy and abundant life, YOU are the Church. We come together as individuals to worship...

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

At least 100 times before, I have read or heard the verses of Matthew 5, the Beatitudes. At least 100 times I have thought they weren't written for me. I convinced myself that the "conditions" that Jesus spoke of are those of non believers and that as a Christian, I was automatically excluded from them. For the first time, I am learning to see them for what they are. Not a suggestion or instruction or excuse. Instead, a simple and extravagant announcement. No conditions, no fine print. Made in general to all mankind and specifically breathed just for me. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, when I swore that the last time was the last time and yet here I am again. Unsure of how I got here. Unclear of what draws me back to this place of doubt time and time again. Ashamed and guilty. Tired of asking for forgiveness from you and yet unable to forgive myself. Ready to promise again to try harder and to do better but not sure if I really mean it.  Or if I even want to. When words and conversations play over and over again in my mind as a constant reminder of failure. When I've said things that cut deep into the flesh of those I love most. When I've lost my temper and lost my focus and when I've given up. When I lay down to sleep and the darkness only makes those voices louder.   Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs...

Is Venting Biblical?

When wronged, it’s tempting to tell the world about our injustice, although in the Christian community, we like to cloak it as a prayer request, venting, or “seeking wise counsel.” But is venting biblical or could it, in fact, lead to destructive division in the body of Christ? Consider Ephesians 4:29: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. According to this verse, we need to guard our words carefully, speaking only words that “build others up” and “benefit those who listen.” We must remember it is not about us—our feelings, rights, or vindication. It is about knowing Christ and making Him known. The greatest way we make Christ known is through love and Christian unity. Why does Paul urge us to guard our words and purify our hearts? To answer this, we must read a few previous verses: 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called. (Ephesians 4:3-4) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. When we vent, our goal usually is not to seek peace for the situation, as verse 3 commands, but instead, to make ourselves feel better. But at what cost? Our listener only hears one side, and most often; the “offending party” is not given a chance to defend themselves. Often, without meaning to, our listener is prone to develop judgments based...

{Word Filled Wednesday} The Old & the New

Older generations can impart such wisdom on younger generations, but sadly we often overlook this powerful truth. The same can be seen in God’s Word. The Old and New are so beautifully intertwined…Jesus knew it; Jesus lived it and we are blessed to hear and embrace it. The Old and the New married into One Word. So captivating and relevant. It reminds us that just as a family passes down a beautiful tradition from generation to generation because the family understands the value of such a tradition, God too passes down His beautiful Word from the Old to the New weaving together a beautiful, priceless masterpiece. Reading the Word in the Old and seeing it again in the New reminds us just how valuable this Word is. ****** {Welcome to WFW!} There are very few rules, in fact the beauty of this ministry is the creative expression that God reveals Himself through. We marvel at the creativity that participants post! It’s a blessing! We encourage the ” post behind the picture,” or the reflections that many of the participants share. We ask that for WFW that participants refrain from using non-biblical. If you’ve got the time we also encourage you to visit a few of the WFW contributors! It’s always a blessing to see the Scripture and story that creatively appear across the screen. WFW is not about books, authors, artists… it’s about God and HIS WORD ONLY. WFW is about celebrating the gift of creativity through God’s Word and sharing the creative Word! Please join us as we share the creative gifts God has blessed us with by...

I Once Was Blind, But Now I See

“Thank you for being my eyes.” I remember my grandmother relaying her gratitude when I pointed out the layer of mold on top of the preserves she was about to spread on her toast. She lost most of her eyesight due to macular degeneration, so in her nineties, she was completely dependent on others. I thought of her the other day when I noticed how dirty the baseboards were in my house. Normally, I wear contacts, but lately they’ve irritated my eyes and I’ve resorted to my glasses. Unfortunately, my glasses bother me, too. So I end up walking around the house without them either, and everything appears a little fuzzy. While putting away my Christmas decorations (with glasses on), I noticed a dust bunny habitat and forty-seven layers of dirt I failed to see before. Without clear vision, I’ve overlooked much. My grandmother would have eaten a big glob of moldy jelly if it weren’t for me making her aware. I wonder what else I’ve missed. Five years ago, God shook my spiritual journey. I loved the Lord and thought I was following Him closely, but one day my Heavenly Father opened my eyes. And everything was different. The people, places and events were the same, but I viewed them differently. Opportunities to recognize God’s glory and share His love were everywhere. At Kroger, I noticed the slump-shouldered mom standing in the middle of the bread aisle, oblivious as I tried to pass by, was actually overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out what she was going to do because she couldn’t afford both the bread and the milk. And...