“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:5 NIV
You’ve been working so long and hard to fulfill the dream God has placed inside of you. In spite of all your efforts, you still have nothing to show for it. You’re not getting any younger and you see everyone else doing what they love. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking. Maybe, it’s time to give up and let go of that crazy dream. You’ve decided to pull your nets out of the water and head back home to mediocrity, but then you hear a voice say, “go out farther into the deeper waters and let down your nets for a catch.”
You recognize the voice. It’s a voice you’ve heard all your life. It’s a voice you’ve come to trust. It’s a voice that always seems to encourage you to do something impossible.
“Seriously,” you say. “Lord, look, I’ve been at this forever with nothing to show for it. I’m tired. I’m hurt. I just want to go home and feel sorry for myself but nevertheless, I’ll do what you say.”
Even though it doesn’t make sense and you’ve never seen it done this way before, you obey and go deeper. When you let down your nets, you’re amazed by the abundance of blessings filling your net. It’s too much to contain so you have to call over your family friends to help reel them in.
That’s what happens when we let down our nets of pride and fear. When we move out of the way and let God have His way, the miraculous happens. The blessings even spill out into the lives of the people around us. We can’t do the impossible on our own but with God nothing is impossible.
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.'” Luke 5:10 NIV
I’m sorry. I admit I was too caught up in my own drama and grief that I didn’t realize you were lost. I was given one simple mission and that was to spread the Gospel of Christ. I was meant to be a witness for God’s love and greatness. Instead, I acted no different than someone who doesn’t know God. I’m sure that must have been confusing to see someone who claims to be a disciple of Christ completely ignore those in need. I gave you no reason to follow God or to even believe in Him, with my judgments and condemnation. I never tried to understand what you were going through. Once I received my salvation, I just focused on what God could do for me and not what I could for Him.
I’m not proud of this. I deeply regret it, especially now that I see how much anger and contempt you have for God and His people. I can clearly see your pain and confusion now. I failed you and I’m not really sure how to make up for it. I’m sure telling you I’m sorry is a start and I could tell you that you’re in my prayers but that just seems too contrived. What I can tell you is that even though I didn’t notice you were lost, God didn’t. You were never truly lost to Him. He has always had His eye on you. He has always loved you, even when you ignored Him, doubted His existence and cursed His people. He loved you enough to convict me for ignoring you. His very reason for creating this earth, sending His Son and giving you life is because He loves you. Don’t judge God based on my human imperfections and don’t let that determine where you spend eternity. If I’m wrong, no big deal but if I’m right, eternity is endless.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV
I was promised a land flowing with milk and honey, if I would just follow Him. He said that I would be a fisher of men. I said yes and followed, never expecting to end up wandering the wilderness for forty years. So maybe it hasn’t been forty years but I thought this was just going to be an eleven day journey. No one told me I would have to lose friends and endure suffering. How many times do I have to go around this same mountain, listening to these same people complaining about the same things. I’m tired of sacrificing and I’m tired of seeing people I love die. I just want to rest in my Promised Land.
It’s not even possible for me to turn around at this point. I’ve seen too many miracles to stop believing. But oh, am I tired of walking on water one minute and sinking the next. Seriously, isn’t that the same mountain I saw last week?
I would absolutely love to tell you that I’m ready to step into my blessings but the truth is, I’m not. I haven’t learned to be thankful and have joy in every circumstance, that’s why I keep complaining about everything. I haven’t been able to fully let go of my past because I keep longing for the good ole days, which really weren’t all that great. I haven’t learned to completely trust God because when He tells me to do something crazy, I still worry about what people will think.
God knows the skills and training I’ll need once I receive His promises. He knows the giants that I’ll have to face and He knows if I had to face them now, I would run away. My faith muscles simply aren’t strong enough right now. So, I’ll continue to persevere and go around this same mountain, yet again and I’ll pray that this time, I can finally cross over into my blessings.
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘if they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.'” Exodus 13:17 NIV
Despite what the weather may be spring is finally here. Soon, there will be an explosion of colors from flowers blooming and the grass turning green. Even the air will smell sweeter. The warmer temperatures and being surrounded by the beauty of spring may fill us with the urge to clean. However, this spring, let us not forget to clean our spiritual lives too.
All winter we’ve been storing up disappointments, heartaches and betrayals. We may have become angry and discouraged because some of our dreams still haven’t come to fruition. There’s no telling how long we’ve been holding on to our grudges either.
God wants to give us an outpouring of blessings in our lives. He wants to give us beauty for our ashes. There’s just one problem, we have to let some things go. We have to let go of our anger and shame. Let God replace it with love, hope and joy. Clean out the past and let God do a new thing in your life. Allow Him to heal your wounded heart. He is able and willing. Don’t miss out on your blessings because you didn’t do your spring cleaning.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NIV
There comes a point during a battle when you have to decide enough is enough. You’ve been beat up for far too long and now it’s time to rise up and show the enemy who they’re really dealing with. You can’t sit there and hope that the attacks will stop and that the enemy will leave you alone. You have to get an attitude. Let him know that he can’t have your family, your sanity and he absolutely can’t have your praise.
Your Heavenly Father is God Almighty. He’s the same God that promised to supply all your needs, to never leave you nor forsake you and the One who has set His angels to guard you. His Son, Jesus, has already conquered death. Why are you just sitting there feeling sorry for yourself and allowing the enemy to steal your family, your peace and your dreams? Get an attitude with the authority given to you by Christ. You’ve come too far to give up now. The victory is already won. It’s time to claim your prize.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV
My handcuffs have been my signature piece. I’ve worn them everyday, all day for as long as I can remember. I’ve had them on for so long that I forgot I was wearing them. I only recently noticed them as I was trying to step out on faith. I hadn’t gotten very far because my stupid handcuffs keep getting in the way.
By now, you’re probably reading this and wondering what in the world is she talking about. Those who know me are especially asking themselves this because they’ve never seen any handcuffs on me and I’m way too boring to ever find myself in them. Well, that’s true about physical handcuffs but I’m talking about spiritual handcuffs-things that hold us back from doing what God has called us to do. Sin, worry, fear, unforgiveness, hatred and pride are but a few things that can hold us back. The enemy likes to keep us in bondage. He wants us to feel helpless and out of control. Anything that keeps us from doing what God has called us to do makes his day. It’s when we are in faith and in obedience that God’s kingdom is increased and God is glorified.
The truth is,as believers, we have the authority and power in Christ Jesus to remove those handcuffs. Every time we speak the Word of God, take our cares to Him in prayer, walk in love or acknowledge our sins and repent, our handcuffs are loosened. It’s time to shake those handcuffs off because the only person who thinks they look good on you is Satan.
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19 NIV
Why so downcast, oh my soul? The Lord woke you up this morning. He kept you safe through the night. His sun shines on you. His favor covers you like your favorite blanket.
It’s time to rise and shine. What happened yesterday has past. Today is a new day, full of new blessings and new mercies. Arise and be of good cheer. There is much work to be done by the Lord’s people.
Open your eyes, the world is hurting. Open your ears, the earth cries out. Open your heart and accept God’s assignment. He has given you strength, peace and joy. There is no need to be downcast, oh my soul. For your Heavenly Father is with you today and forever. He has promised to take care of you and to protect you. Your Heavenly Father is El-Shaddai-God Almighty. He is the Creator of the Earth. There is no one and no thing greater than Him. He parts seas. He heals the sick and raises the dead. He sent His Son, whose blood cleanses you of all sin. He has conquered death surely, He can handle your problems.
Praise the Lord, oh my soul, for He is good and His love endures forever. He is generous, not only with His mercy, but with all that is His to give. You are His child. Arise!
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5 NIV