Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus John 21:3-4
We used to live in a very small town. There was one store, a gas station, and a post office the size of a large bedroom. Moving there from the city was something of a culture shock and one of the most intriguing discoveries was to come to a small store in the area and find it closed during business hours. Usually there was a sign reading, “Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12-3PM: or “gone fishing”. In the city it was unheard of to close down when there was business to be done, but not in farm country.
In the same way the disciples chose to be laid back about the things that Jesus had called them to do. They didn’t know where to begin, so going fishing seemed like as good an idea as any. You might think that Jesus would show up and give them a long lecture. But instead of treating the disciples the way any “normal boss” would do He chose instead to show up and cook them all breakfast! Can you imagine the conversation around the breakfast table that morning?
The good news for us is that even when we act a lot like the disciples by “going fishing” Jesus comes where we are with grace. He doesn’t wait for us to get everything just right. So once we finish the breakfast He stayed up all night to cook, let’s remember to share His message of love with the same grace which he gave when He waited all night for us to come to shore.
And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment Matthew 9:20
There was only one hem on the garment of Christ. In fact when the soldiers went to divide his clothing they gambled for His outer garment because it was all on piece. The only hem available for the woman to touch was at the very lowest point of the robe of Jesus Christ.
Like this woman in the crowd our own needs may have dominated our focus for years. Friends, family, holidays, and even her ability to enter a place or worship all were consumed by the power of her need – until that day. On that day as Jesus was passing by in the crowd a new found hope welled up in her heart. We are not told if she had listened to Jesus’ words herself or if she had simply believed what others had told her about him. What we do know is that the message she had heard about Jesus Christ was sufficient for her to throw off her reserve and by faith determine that she would do anything to get to Him. The power of her need was for that one single moment had no ability to prevent her from pressing through the busy crowd in order to fall to her knees and reach up and touch the hem of His robe.
The good news for us is that our invisible God gives us a visible point of contact but it may lie only in the lowest of places. Grace can always be found at the lowest place. When we are willing, when we are looking, when hearts are are humbled He will pass by and give us a small but visible connection to His invisible power and grace!
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble James 4:6
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
I like nothing of weakness infirmity or disability. I despise the inability my weak state brings me to. There is so much that needs to be done which requires, strength, endurance and intelligence – Yet God-delights in those moments when I am utterly incapacitated and cannot meet my daily demands.
I hate sitting and only listening when I feel I should speak or spending sleepless nights tossing and turning over struggles which are beyond my ability to face -Yet God- has promised that when I trust Him when I can no longer trust myself that He will give me grace.
His grace is enough in every need. His grace is enough when I cannot understand. His grace is enough when my plans end like tangled threads which His fingers alone can unknot and weave into a carpet of grace. His grace is enough when I can not sing a note to give me song in the night. Oh yes – I do not love my weakness -Yet God- has promised that in my weakness His power and strength are made perfect.
2 Corinthians 12:9b …” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Seventh Gift of Christmas – Grace
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
If Jesus came as a barefoot child to your home would he be welcomed in? If He knocked at your door would He be considered a stranger? If He asked for your time would he be treated as an honored guest? If He was rejected by your neighbors would He be defended as a part of your family?
The good news of Immanuel (God with us) is that Jesus passes through our little world every day in all these hidden ways. If we want to know the riches of the gift of His grace, what better way than to give it away?
Many of us have been complaining about the April snow, but God sees snow differently than we do. For Him, the snow is the quiet unmarked innocence of His Son Jesus Christ. It was by His innocent life’s blood that our hearts are washed and made whiter than snow. Here is a sweet rendition of this hymn and I pray it will bless your hearts today.
Truth without grace is having a bicycle but having no idea how to ride it. Grace without truth is knowing how to ride well but discovering that someone has stolen your bike!
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Euodius and Syntyche I beg you by name to make up your differences as Christians should! And, my true fellow-worker help these women. They both worked hard with me for the Gospel, as did Clement and all my other fellow-workers whose names are in the book of life Philippians 4:2-3 (JB Phillips)
Anyone who has struggled to be a better parent knows that not every day is all hugs and kisses. Maybe life would be boring if it was! The definition of parenting is nothing if it is not conflict resolution. Paul takes a moment in his letter to the Philippian to focus on two people who he loved but who were butting heads in the church.
First Paul steps in and rather than choosing sides he does what any good coach would do in the heat of the game. He calls for a time-out! Sometimes the best thing we can do in working through conflicts is to put the “I”m right – he (she) is wrong” attitude on hold and just take a time out. Sit down on the bench for a minute a day or a week and let everyone’s tempers cool down.
Secondly Paul points out the good in both of the warring parties. They had both worked with him in building the church in their city. They had given themselves to the same goal and put in time and effort for the sake of the gospel. Maybe the first thing we can do after cooling our jets is to take another look at the other person and remember back to when we once worked together for something good. Once when I was breaking up a fight between our boys I had them sit down on their beds until they could tell me a list of three good things about their brother. You should have seen the look on their faces! You would have thought I had sentenced them to a year of hard labor! But remembering the good is the first step back to peace in a home.
Last Paul moves the focus from the past to the future. He reminds them that the most important thing of all will come on that blessed day when their names are read out from the book of life. Our life is a story that has its conclusion on the day when we enter into eternity. The importance of who gets their own way today will suddenly seem small when placed alongside of the view from heaven. The very one we may be at odds with today will be the person with whom we are to share eternity.
In less than two weeks it will be Easter Sunday, That is the day when the greatest conflict of all was resolved. Three days after His terrible suffering on the cross, Jesus was resurrected and came to show the scars in His hands. There written in His own book of life were the marks of a love that restored us to God and offered us a path we could walk on together forever!