Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013 … Casting My Nets …

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 84

{Click on photo for better view}

Passage of the Day: John 21: 6 [In the context of verses 1-6] [NLT] …  
1 Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened.  2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. 
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 
4 At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish?” 
“No,” they replied. 6 Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of fish!So they did, and they couldn’t draw in the net because there were so many fish in it. 
Contextual Study of today’s passage: John, Chapter 21 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 3: 5-6 : [Yeah! Back again to this truth which keeps yelling at it so do life God’s way. ] …[NKJV] …  
3 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 

My Journal for Today: What do they say is the modern-day definition of “INSANITY?” Isn’t it “… doing something the same way over and over again and expecting different results?”

Sometimes, to achieve some change in our lives which we know must take place, we find ourselves doing life in a “same-ole-same-ole” groove. Some might call it a “rut,” and they’d probably be right. Well, that’s why I love the opening story in the last chapter in John’s gospel as illustrative of something we may all need in our lives … CHANGE … for God’s sake (and I mean that literally and spiritually).

The story in John 21 opens with many of the disciples, moping around after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and re-ascension into heaven. They felt alone; and God’s Spirit had not yet come to them to be their comforter and helper. So, what do they find themselves doing? Well, many of them returned to what they knew best, … fishing; and in this opening scene we find the fishermen returning to the very same beach where Jesus had called them out to be disciples. And my wife and I have had the opportunity to walk on that very beach, which is pictured in the attached photo [see above].

 And so Peter, being the leader sort he was, tells the men he’s going out fishing; and a bunch of the disciples follow and go with him. However, their return to their comfort-zone produced nothing. Net after net was thrown out with nary a fish to show for it. And then enters someone on shore, calling out to Peter to cast their nets in a different direction; and somehow – without recognizing that it was Jesus calling out to them – Peter, likely leading the others, casts the net, as suggested by the stranger, in a different way; … and VOILA! … Fish galore!

What does this story say to us?

First of all, it reminds me a bit of the story of the disciples going out into the storm (the story found in Matt. 14, Mark 6, and John 6). And in that faith-building event, the disciples should have learned that in the face of trials or troubles, that Jesus would never abandon them; and they were also shown in that storm that they should look to do life the way Jesus calls to them to follow Him in the midst of their storms.

Well, here they were, floundering a bit in their own “insanity,” and low and behold, Jesus appears to them again – unrecognized – showing them, again, how to do life. And when they followed His call (i.e., His way), things happened, … didn’t they?! And so, are we getting the message from these wonderful stories in the life of these disciples. Well, … here are a few of the lessons I’m getting – or re-getting - today.

First, … when we’re feeling down and out, we need to beware of trying to return to our comfort zones to make life happen God’s way. Oh, that doesn’t mean just doing something wild and crazy just to bring about change. But, like the modern definition of “insanity,” just doing things the comfortable old way is not likely to produce the change God wants for our life.

Next, … we need to look for Jesus and His call toward change. Perhaps it means paying attention to God’s Spirit in our prayer life. Maybe we need to listen to a sermon on a Sunday morning which convicted us. Perhaps, it’s a matter of digging harder into God’s word to find the exciting and valuable jewels God has for us, … providing direction in our lives (like the recurring reference verse calls us to trust in God’s word – from Prov. 3: 5-6).

And finally, … when we sense a leaning from God, as the old Nike motto says, “Just do it!” … If you have a leaning to change directions or to do life a new way; and you have God’s peace (that peace that surpasses all understand from Isaiah 26: 3 or Phil. 4: 6-7), perhaps it’s time to cast your nets in a different way, following God’s leaning, and see if God will fill your nets with His catch.

Change is tough; but when God calls for change, if we do life His way, He will fill our nets.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I hear You calling! … Amen

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