The CHRISTian and Fishing…

The CHRISTian and Fishing….

My wife and I were just getting ready to go on a vacation fishing trip. What type of fishing do you enjoy the most? There is fishing for fish and fishing for men. One of them having eternal consequences depending upon which response you gave. In the book of Matthew chapter four verse 19 I am reminded that our Savior Jesus wants us to share about our faith so that others will come to know Him as we have. And hopefully you have. If not, this challenge sounds very foolish.If is does check this out (John 3:16, John 3:3, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:13) and you may see why it seems foolish.

Some including me at times in my life avoid fishing for men by thinking that my life is my testimony and I do not need to speak about the most important Person in my life.  Living a life that reflects Jesus is important but that alone cannot be used as a substitute for sharing our faith. Yes, I know most of us are scared to do so but listen to what our Lord says about fear and about trials and troubles that will occur in this life.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 Mat 4:19 “And Jesus said unto them, follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

By the way, fishing for men is not reserved for the professional fisherman (evangelist or church leaders) only!!!!!  We all can enjoy the ministry of sharing our faith and the blessings that go with it!!!! It is like the spiritual gift of giving and some of the other spiritual gifts. With the spiritual gift of giving some you desire to and will give more than most believers but all believers are to give so that our Lord’s work is properly funded. Witnessing is the same. The person with the spiritual gift of Evangelist or Pastor will have the greatest desire to lead lost folks to a knowledge of Jesus and His sacrifice of our sins but all believers are to share their faith with a lost and dying world. That is why you live, work and play where you do. God knew you before you were born and place you where you live, work and play for a reason. The reason is to be light and salt for His names sake. Those locations and acquaintances are not of your design if you are following God’s will for your life.

Eph 4:1 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:”

Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”

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The Love of God…

John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”

The Love of God….

The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It’s not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and it’s kind of interesting, and they’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot.

Only they say it’s not three villagers, its 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it’s on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb. People are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India; it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere and they have coined it now as “the mystery flu”.

The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, “How are we going to contain it?”

That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that’s why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: “There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu.” It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die.

Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it’s Tuesday morning when the President of the United States  makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been cancelled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”

Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what if it comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.”

It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.” And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. “Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu.”

Within hours it seems this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders.

And then, all of a sudden the news comes put. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask.”

You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on, and that this is the end of the world. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. “What?” He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me.”

Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!” And they say, “It is okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.”

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another – some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, “Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine.”

As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and you wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment?  We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we need . . . we need you to sign a consent form.” You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty.

“H-h-h-how many pints?” And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”

“But – but…” “You don’t understand. We are talking about the world here. Please  sign! We – we need it all – we need it all!”

“But can’t you give him a transfusion?”

“If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?”

In numb silence you do. Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?” Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”

And when that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve – we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying.” Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is saying, “Dad? Mom? Dad? Why – why have you forsaken me?”

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care.

Would you want to jump up and say, “MY SON DIED! DON’T YOU CARE?”
Is that what He wants to say? “MY SON DIED. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.””

America needs Israel and God…

America needs Israel and God

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

There is a movement in our country and in our world to turn our backs on Israel and in some countries to eliminate them forever. When you look at scripture you find that it is a very dangerous path. God made an eternal covenant with the Jewish nation so to think that some nation or group of nations or group of Christians could ever change that is spiritual suicide. Also to abandon them would be to commit the same.

Israel is the one nation in our world created by God and has a covenant with God. A covenant like this is one that God will keep because God always keeps His word. Circumcision for the Jew is a sign of that covenant.

Gen 17:7-10 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;”

As long as we see the sun and the moon the covenant with Israel exists.

Psalms 89”30-37 “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, If they break My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

Both the Christian Church and Israel have covenants with our Savior. One does not replace the other. And some Jews and some Christians have chosen to reject God’s covenant with them but that does not make it obsolete. The following are reasons why the Church does not replace Israel and the covenant God made with it.

1. Romans 9, 10, 11 talk of Israel not a cast away.
a. Rom 11:1 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying…”
2. Rom 11:17,18 Some of the Jewish people just like the Gentiles rejected God’s truths and paid the penalty for that rejection but it was not the whole Jewish nation. Check out the 7 churches in Revelation 1-3 and see how many believers fall short and did the same. The covenant is made new and not disbanded.
a. Heb 8:7-13 “ For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
3. Israel was blinded for a moment in time so that we Gentiles would have the opportunity to be saved. That truth does not reflect a covenant disbanded. Israel will be blessed for their function in our salvation.
a. Rom 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
b. Rom 11:26, 17 “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
4. In Revelation 7 we see the 144,000 evangelists during the tribulation. They come from the tribes or families of Jacob and Israel. If the covenant was disbanded than this would not make sense.

The Church does have a responsibility to Israel;
• Psalm 122:6 Pray for Israel
• Isa 40:1 Bring comfort to Israel
• Isa 62:1 Speak out in defense of Israel
• Gen 12:3 Bless Israel or you or your nation will be cursed if you curse them
• Rom 15:27 God will bless those who bless Israel. America has reaped this promise and unfortunately is close to abandoning it.
• From Israel we obtained the;
o Jesus
o Mary, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Matthew, Mark, John, Peter, Paul, etc
o The Prophets
o The Scriptures
o The Patriarchs
o John 4:22 Salvation is of the Jews
o Israel the small postage stamp of a nation has always been the focus of our world and will continue to be until Jesus returns to put an end to sin and satan.

The conclusion is simple. God loves both the Jew and the Gentile and for that I am eternally grateful and I for one will never turn my back on God’s covenants with either group.

The Effects of Sin on Future Generations…

The Effects of Sin on Future Generations…

Our lives will affect our children, our children’s children and our
children’s, children’s, children.

Deut 5:7&9 “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not bow
down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the third and fourth generations.”

Example from scripture = David, his son Solomon and his son Rehoboam.

David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah
to try and cover up his sins. David confessed his sins and God forgave
him but his ancestors and David reaped what he had sown.

Solomon’s’ sin of lust went unconfessed. Solomon took wives from the
nations our Lord commanded he not do so from.

I Kings 11-14a “So the Lord said to Solomon, because you have done
this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have
commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to
your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of
your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe
to your son for the sake of your father David and for the sake of
Jerusalem which I have chosen. Then the Lord raised up an adversary to
Solomon…”

Rehoboam, Solomon’s son committed similar sins as his father and his
fathers’ father but with increased magnitude. The judgment severity
also increased.

I Kings 14:21 “Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah…”

I Kings 14:22 “Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they
provoked Him to jealousy MORE than all that their fathers had done,

with the sins which they committed.”

So much for the thought that I am only affecting me……………
What will our children reap from our lives?????????????

Of course, there is a way to keep from the same. Check it out….

Heb 12:1, 2, I John 1:9, Rom 12:1, 2….

Mat 6:33a “But seek you first the king of God and its righteousness…”

If I had my life to do over…

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanished away.”

If I had my Life to do over!
by Erma Bombeck

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was
stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “GOOD” living room and worried
much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the
fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it
melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about
grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,
wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished
every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the
only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later.
Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you” … more “I’m sorry”… but
mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look
at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

I would tell all my friends that I need and love them and that my life would
be empty without them!

So where does sin that causes death come from?

Gen 2:15,16 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, you may freely
eat of every tree of the garden; But of the tree of good and evil and
blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of
it you shall surely die.”

We all partake…
Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And as with all actions there is a result..                                                                                   Rom 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”

The good news with the rest of the verse…
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.”

CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

James 4:14 “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Then comes eternity……

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”

HE IS RISEN……..

God looks at the Heart…

I Sam 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

 God looks at the Heart….

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to our patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.  “Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face — lopsided from
swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.”

He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face…I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.  He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home.

Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.”  I told him he was welcome to come again. And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.  “Did you keep that awful looking man last night?  I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!” Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers; we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were
my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”

My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was
imagining just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman.  “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”  All this happened long ago — and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul
must stand.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I Sam 16:7b “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”