Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's safer in the deep end

"You are better off in the deep water with Jesus than in the shallow water alone." -Priscilla Shirer

An ancient Galilee boat. I took this picture on a trip to Israel in 2010. This is a historical find. According to our guide, this boat was excavated and dated to be from the time of Jesus' ministry. The fisherman who used this boat likely knew of Jesus.
This morning, I listened to a segment of a message Priscilla gave to a group of women recently. In it, she focused on Luke 5 - a passage that focuses on our friend Simon Peter, and his frustration with an empty fishing net. He and his fellow fisherman had worked all night with nothing to show for it.

"He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets”  (v. 3-5).

Isn't that just like us? When Jesus steps into our situation and gives us a chance to exercise our faith, do you ever catch yourself thinking, "Well, if You had been around, Lord, You would know I've already tried that"? As if He wasn't there with us through it all. Maybe the answer to our prayers isn't some outrageous new thing. Maybe it's something we've considered before (and even tried on our own), but now it will be done in light of faith in God to handle it and not in ourselves.

"When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him" (v. 6-11).

He was patient with Peter, and in the presence of His glory, Peter recognized his doubt.

As Pricilla said, wouldn't we rather be in the deep end with Jesus than in the shallow water without? I would rather face impossible situations with the One who makes the impossible possible than live an "easy" life solving all of my problems on my own.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Crayon wheels

Do you remember those elementary school crayon drawings you used to bring home from school and proudly hand to Mom, awaiting her gushing approval and the subsequent posting on the refrigerator?

Now do you remember looking back on those drawings as a teenager or adult, with a completely different understanding of how to draw a wheel or a car or an airplane or a flower? If you drew one now, it might actually resemble the real object!

I recently started C.S. Lewis' book The Problem of Pain. When mentioning my latest author of choice, a friend made the comment about how challenging it is to read some of Lewis' writings because of his vocabulary. As I read a few chapters this week, I found myself agreeing. However, one thing I greatly appreciate about C.S. Lewis is that he doesn't mince words and he doesn't fill the pages of his books with flowery, unnecessary descriptions. Every sentence has a point. It may take reading a few paragraphs down before the purpose of a particular point strikes you - and then it hits square on!

I came across this gem in my reading this week:

"Beyond all doubt, His idea of 'goodness' differs from ours; but you need have no fear that, as you approach it, you will be asked simply to reverse your moral standards. When the relevant difference between the Divine ethics and your own appears to you, you will not, in fact, be in any doubt that the change demanded of you is in the direction you already call 'better.' The Divine 'goodness' differs from ours, but it is not sheerly different; it differs from ours not as white from black but as a perfect circle from a child's first attempt to draw a wheel. But when the child has learned to draw, it will know that the circle it then makes is what it was trying to make from the very beginning."
- C.S. Lewis

How different our understanding of goodness is once we know the Lord and grow to know Him better. All the 'wheels' of goodness I used to draw are scribbles compared to the goodness of God.

I am thankful that God works out His goodness in our lives. His goodness is worthy of our praise. Everything He does is good. And when we do good, we imitate God.

Let us study His goodness, praise His goodness, and model our lives after Him.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Believing is an active verb

This morning, as I read my daily devotional in Beth Moore's study on John, I put something together in my mind and heart that really hit home: Just as salvation was a one-time act and is also a daily act, so believing was a one-time choice and is also a daily choice.

We cannot rely on our initial moment of belief to get us through each day. Yes, it took that very profound decision to change our lives, but we have to carry it out beyond that moment. It is a daily choice to actively believe Him - believe that He is good and that He is working out His will in our lives.

I don't want to believe like Thomas - only when I see Him and the ultimate outcome. I want to believe Him in every season of waiting.

And so, each day is another day to believe Him.

“Vision is the ability to see God’s presence, to perceive God’s power, to focus on God’s plan in spite of the obstacles.” ― Charles R. Swindoll