No Fishing!

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:19 KJV

“Private property”, read the sign by the edge of the pond. “No hunting fishing or trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” But just feet away a stranger sat, fishing pole in hand on the little dock. As the farmer’s wife approached, she smiled and asked, “What are you doing here?”

“Oh I always fish here.” The man responded with a shrug. “I have permission from, Rita Modei.”

“Really?” she responded with a quiet chuckle. “Well I’m Rita. I don’t know you – so get off my land!”

That true story happened just up the road from us, and it reminded me of today’s verse. Just like that guy, most of us start off explaining our faith by saying something about God’s love. “Jesus loves you.” Or “God is love.” These phrases roll easily off our lips, but in our daily lives sometimes we are a lot like the guy fishing in someone else’s pond. We know about it. We have heard there are some big fish in there, but we have never actually met the owner! Paul tells us that this love of Christ is something that is beyond our understanding. But the good news is that God wants us to know it. He has seen us fishing in His pond and has come to talk with us – but unlike our neighbor, He didn’t come to throw us off His land. He came to meet us. He came so that His love could be lived out in the ordinary circumstances of our lives. He is ready to give a fishing license to everyone who puts their faith in Him. We might be trespassing on His property, but He isn’t looking to prosecute us to the fullest extent of the law. His is a love that is fishing for our hearts, and He invites you to come fishing today!

Let Down the Nets

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  Luke 5:5

We all sometimes come face to face with failure no matter how hard we try. When kids were picking teams to play baseball in my neighborhood I was always the last to get picked and usually was made pitcher because I couldn’t hit, run or catch.

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Maybe you are struggling in your marriage is struggling or you are just weeks away from bankruptcy. Like Peter whatever you are facing, remember that Jesus didn’t come to choose the best fishermen, fathers, mothers or business men and women. Jesus came to pick people who have worked all night with nothing to show for their efforts. in fact Jesus is not asking for us to just try harder. He calls us to simply believe and obey His word!  When Peter did what Jesus asked his once empty nets became so full that he needed his friends’ help to pull them in. But Jesus doesn’t stop with simply filling our nets with fish. He has an astonishing adventure in mind far beyond just immediate blessings. If we follow Jesus we will be amazed at where that journey leads; but everything hinges on being willing to let down those nets at His word!

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him Luke 5:11

Launching Out Again

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  Luke 5:5

My grandfather was the captain of a destroyer during the war and long after retirement he remained firmly in command of the ship at home. Though we loved him dearly, we grandchildren learned to respond quickly whenever He barked “All hands on deck!” when it was time for chores; or “No excuses sir!” if we got caught doing something wrong. But one of his favorite sayings happened when we made excuses. He would pause with a smile, then point his finger directly at whoever was the excuse maker and say; “No if’s and’s or but’s”

Maybe Peter had a grandfather a lot like mine, because when Jesus asked him to go back out into deeper water to throw his net out again he simply obeyed. When Peter said, “I will let down my nets” he knew that meant that he would need to load them back in the boat, then call his brother and some of his friends and go back out after having worked all night. Last of all he had to throw the heavy, water soaked net back into the water with the possibility that it would just come back in empty again. It would have been a lot easier to say, “I’m so tired Jesus, why not ask John or James?” But none of those excuses kept Peter from obeying Jesus. He trusted what Jesus said by a faith he probably didn’t yet fully understand and launched out.

When God calls me or you to launch out with him we often have plenty of if’s and’s or but’s. “If you first give me this Lord, then I’ll be happy to obey.” or “And what about my sister, why can’t she do it this time?” or even “But Lord you know I always mess this up!” But God did not call someone else. He is not interested in a faster or more efficient way of getting things done. What He cares about is teaching us to trust Him. So instead of wasting time with our “if’s and’s or but’s ; why not just load up our nets, and launch out into the deep? Until we let down our nets we’ll never know what God can do to fill them!