The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’ Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV
17 years ago we used to bring two of our grandsons to church. At three and one years old this was a challenge during the song service, while I was alone with them and Nancy sang with the worship team. Nathan, who was the older, was generally happy to sit and clap his hands – but not AJ. Oh no, he wanted in on the action and decided that I had to hold him so he could see what was going on! Now, I loved holding him in my arms for the first song, but by the chorus of the second, he started getting heavy and by the third I was desperate for some help. Today’s verse talks about God’s everlasting arms and I discovered that mine most definitely were not!
As we enter this new year, with all of its challenges, opportunities and scary unknowns, we need the One whose arms alone can carry us through. If we will trust Christ as Savior, then whatever we face we can know that God’s got us in His arms. They are underneath us even when we are at our lowest and He will never let us go!
The angel said to the women,”Don’t be afraid, for I know you were looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen, just as He said! Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples!”Matthew 28:5-7a NIV
Fear is one of those things everyone has battled ever since Adam and Eve took the first bite of the forbidden fruit. As a friend who had done work building 600 foot steel towers once told me, “The man who says he isn’t afraid is a liar!” We are all afraid, at different times and in different places. But whatever we are fearful of this morning, we are advised to look and see, He is not here. In the place where He is, fear is forever vanquished. He is alive and is calling us to come and see for ourselves, and then go and tell others He has risen. “We don’t need to be afraid anymore!”
Years ago, we had a poster on the wall, of a young boy sitting hunched over on the sidelines of a football game, with the quote, “I quit!” Then, just to the side of that was a picture of the cross with the words, “I didn’t!” If that is you today, then I pray that this little devotional which I wrote several years ago would give you hope.
And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word
I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:5ESV
Peter was like the farmer who has just finished his spring planting only to have his field washed out by a rainstorm. We all sometimes come face to face with our inability and failure no matter how hard we try. Maybe you were the last to get picked for your neighborhood team and only got to play because they ran out of other people. Maybe your marriage is struggling or has failed. Maybe you don’t have a friend. Whatever you may be facing, that is also how Peter felt that day.
But Jesus doesn’t come to choose the best fishermen, fathers, mothers or pastors. Jesus came to pick people for His team who have worked all night and have nothing to show for their efforts. And the call of Jesus is not to just try harder. Jesus only asks us to believe and obey His word! When Peter simply did what Jesus asked him, he saw immediate results. When he cast the net on the other side of the boat, it became so full that it took all of the efforts of Peter his friends to pull them in. But Jesus doesn’t stop with filling our nets. We think it would be great if Jesus showed up to give us blessings like Peter’s full nets, but this story is about more than blessings. The call of Jesus then, as now, was to come by faith and follow Him wherever He chooses to go!
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him! Luke 5:11
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