Tag Archives: perspective

What’s in a Boat Anyway?

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing.  They say unto him, we also go with thee.  They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.  But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat?  They answered him, no.  And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye will find.  They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord.  Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.  And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.  John 21:3-8

ontheshoreHave you ever done something as a pure reaction? With little or no thought, you simply react.  This is the third time we find Simon Peter in a boat.  In Luke 5: 4 and 5, there was no reaction, just the obedience, “Nevertheless at thy word,” before he is called to follow Christ.  In Matthew 14: 24-31, we witness Simon Peter’s moment of unbelievable faith with, “Lord if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water,” that allowed him to walk on water toward Jesus.  Now in chapter 21 of John, Jesus has been crucified and resurrected.  He has appeared to the disciples twice so they know he is alive.  There would have been no surprise.  So what would make Peter react in such a way?  When John said it was the Lord, there was little to no thought.  He forgot the fish in the net.  He paid no attention to what the others were doing.  He grabbed his coat, jumped out of the boat and swam the hundred yards to shore.  Why?

I think it had something to do with his journey.  We often talk about people who are too focused on something as having blinders on.  They can see nothing but their target, whether it’s good or bad.  Peter obeyed and followed a teacher.  He later realized Jesus was the Son of God.  Now Christ had been crucified, buried and resurrected.  And there, I believe, lies one point of this Scripture; after everything Simon Peter had experienced, witnessed and heard since becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, what else could stir him to the point of pure reaction except the glory of the risen Lord?

Too often throughout our day, our focus is on everything except Christ.  Our days are so filled at times it can almost seem to minimize our risen Lord.  So I will pose the question – What are you focused on?  What would merit such a reaction and cause you to jump out of your boat?

Article by C.S. Depew

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Rose-Colored Glasses

It’s amazing how many people feel Christians look at the world with naïve optimism.  I was fortunate enough to assist with a Christ-centered addictions program for two years.  Week after week I watched people come to the program once or twice and never return.  One man even stood up and said, “You’re not giving these people any real help.  When they are down in the gutter, they need someone they can call on to drag them out.  Sitting here in a church and praying isn’t going to help them in the real world.”

Oh, how wrong he was.  Many of those people came to church on Friday nights hoping to find a magic cure:  “do this, this and that and presto – the gutters of the world will be a distant memory.”  The glorious truth is they were closer to a cure than they ever realized.  I believe addiction is the result of a conscious or unconscious attempt to deal with the sin-riddled world around us.  It starts with a drink, pill, food, etc. that temporarily blurs the vision, numbs the senses and disarms the moral compass within to give some comfort from the harsh reality of the world in which we live.   They make things, at least for a while, more bearable.

Addiction is the result of a conscious or unconscious attempt to deal with the sin-riddled world around us.

Now, here’s the rub.  As Christians we try to help people with these addictions without realizing we do the exact same thing.  John 14:16 says, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”  In John 14:26 Jesus says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Why is the Holy Spirit called a Comforter?  Because He is sent to help make things more bearable.  The Comforter sent to us by God clears our vision, heightens our senses and guards our moral compass so we can see beyond the harsh world in which we live and see the world that was intended and will be again.  The rose-colored glasses we wear do not blind us from the reality of the world.  They allow us to look at those who have fallen into the gutters of this world and see children of God.  Our Comforter allows us to reach out to those around us and give them true hope in Jesus Christ and, for the first time, let them see themselves through the eyes of The King.

 

Article by C.S. Depew

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Why I Took a Sabbatical…

The problem of sin has brought the consequences of the curse – one of which is that the ‘new’ never lasts (or costs too much to keep new).  New houses lose their magic after a mortgage payment or two.  The new car smell generally wears off after about two weeks.  Honeymoons don’t last forever.  Even in the spiritual realm, the newness of conversion and church wears off all-too-soon!  The only exception is what God does in the lives of His children. 2 Corinthians 5 speaks about how God seeks to renew us, if we will allow Him. During my sabbatical, I made this a serious matter of prayer…

Lord, Renew My View of this World (v1-8)

The old view of life: get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can!  The old view of life is one where stability and success is measured by wealth, possessions, and things.  But God has called us to walk by faith and not by sight.  We need shift our focus and trust God. Our new perspective will seek heavenly treasures.  Lord, please renew the way I see life, death, and everything in between.  Help me to see things like you see them.

Lord, Renew My Desires & Motivations (v9-15)

The old motives will only take you so far.  There are several wrong ways to keep yourself going… Works: I’m doing good to earn something important.  Fear: I’m afraid not to do what’s right.  Pride: I want to do right for right’s sake (and for mine too).  Duty: I’m supposed to do what’s right, so that’s what I’ll do.  Insecurity: If I don’t do what’s right, people won’t accept me.  But the new motive is simple: LOVE.  His love moves me to love like He loved.  His sacrifice, His grace, His forgiveness.  Christ didn’t endure the cross because He needed the salvation, He did it for our salvation and to glorify the Father.  Lord, please renew my ‘want-to’ when I lose my healthy ambition and motivation.

Lord, Renew My Attitude toward Others (v16-17)

The old way to approach relationships is usually selfish in nature. Skeptical, doubtful, judgmental, critical, and  fearful.  As a Christian, my new mindset gives others (especially Christians) the benefit of the doubt. I must understand that Christians deserve a clean slate – worthy of love and of trust.  Lord, please remove my prejudices and renew my appreciation for your image-bearers.

Lord, Renew My Perception of Self (v17-21)

The old perspective is usually out of balance in one of two ways: either I saw myself as a worthless human being or I felt too highly of myself.  Both views are too extreme to be new because they either lead to ‘self-esteem’ issues (self-pity or pride).  My old perception begins with ‘who I am without God,’ but my new perception of myself begins in God.  I am what God says I am and I have what God says I have.  I am forgiven.  I am an ambassador.  I have been reconciled to God and have been called to reconcile others to God.  Lord, please renew my understanding of who I am in you.

A salesman once had a difficult time selling an old, rundown warehouse.  As he showed a prospective buyer the property, the agent took pains to talk about all he planned to do in renovating the broken windows and cleaning up the garbage.  ”Forget about the repairs, said the buyer, “I’m not interested in the building.  I just want the site.”   … God isn’t interested in the repairs that we can make to ourselves, He wants to totally renew (restore / rebuild) us from the inside out!   Give up the rights to your site and see what God will build on it.

 

Article by Patrick Nix

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Time Management

Have you ever been through a season of disorganization and chaos at some point in your life? It may seem that days went by without notice and before you knew it you missed out on an entire week or even longer. Maybe even now you feel as if you are always rushing to be somewhere, rarely have any time to relax at home or cannot enjoy the things in life that matter to you most.

What is worse, as a Christian you may have spent very little time alone with God and possibly none at all. The Bible says, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13), but in this fast-paced world we live in, it can be easy to get so caught up in our daily routine that we lose sight of our true purpose in life – to worship and glorify God.

So as we swiftly approach the coming holiday season, there are some biblical principles we can keep in mind that may help us stay more organized, allowing us time at home with our families and more importantly, with God.

First, the Bible tells us to be careful of how we use our time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). We are only given so many hours in a day, so many days in a month, and so many months in a year to accomplish the things in life we are responsible for. Among these things we are expected to put God in first place, putting all of our heart, soul and strength into our commitment to Him (Deuteronomy 6:5). By putting anything else in the place where God should be, we are taking from God the honor He so rightly deserves (Romans 12:1), making an idol of that which we have chosen to put before Him, and robbing ourselves of any spiritual growth. Only after placing God first can we begin to prioritize the rest of our lives in regards to our family, church family and then the rest of the world.

Second, the Bible says that we should use our time serving others rather than serving ourselves (Galatians 5:13, 1 Corinthians 10:24). In this day and age we are offered so much entertainment that we can easily fill our lives with things that distract and not edify us. You have heard it said that idle hands are the devils tools, but the Bible says everything that is in the world, from the desire of the eyes to the boasting of the prideful, comes from the devil who is in charge of the world (1 John 2:15-16). We can get pretty wrapped up in ourselves if we are not careful to put others before ourselves and can easily fill up our schedule with selfishness and greed. Therefore, the Bible says we should put away such things (Romans 6:13, Colossians 3:5) and “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12).

Third, the Bible says that we should use our time to focus on things eternal and not what is important in this life only (Matthew 6:19-21). There are many good things that we can get involved in while we are here on this earth but if they distract us from the more important things in life, what good have we done? The Bible says that everything that is permissible is not beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23) and that we should only pursue that which makes for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19). There is no time to live for tomorrow when your eternity could begin right now (James 4:14), for the Bible tells us not to live life for human desires, but rather for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).

Perhaps even as you read these very words you are struggling to maintain the use of your time for the glory of God, the good of others, or the eternality of your very soul. And although the Bible has much more to say about how we can use our time wisely, it has only one thing to say about retaining life. By surrendering your life to Jesus, the time you spend here on earth will be meaningless contrasted to the eternity you will spend with our Father in heaven.

Are you weak and heavy-laden, are you burdened by a load of care? Remember the promise Jesus has for us: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

If you would like to know how you can begin in a relationship with Jesus Christ, please contact me. I am always glad to hear from my readers. Write me at michael@michaelwaits.com.

Article by Michael Waits

@michaelwaits

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