Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10, 2013 … Fishers of Men

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 314

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – to see a video of a powerful song sung by Clay Crosse, Bebe Wynans, and Bob Carlisle, I Will Follow Christ, reminding us that following Christ will be sacrifice and surrender; but it is necessary to show the world Whom we follow, shining His light to be fishers of men.

Highlight Passage: Matthew 4: 19 … [In verses 18-20 … The fishermen followed Jesus to become fishers of men. ] … [NLT]  
18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed Him. 
 Highlight Passage: Matthew, Chapter 4 … GO TO THIS LINK … [NLT] …

Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 … [Following Jesus is a tough gig!] … [NLT] …  
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. …”

Reference Passage #2: John, Chapter 21 … Go to this link … [NLT] ...  [When we yield to Christ in our lives, He will complete us as fishers of men.]

Reference Passage #3: Acts 1: 8 … [Surrendering to Christ will give us the power to shine His light!] … [NLT] …  
8 “… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

My Journal for Today: A few years ago, my wife and I were in the Holy Land; and we had taken a boat ride over to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee. We were then taken to the very beach where Jesus selected the first of His inner 12 Disciples, Andrew and Peter, (see the Matthew 4 passage above), which was the same beach where, after Jesus returned after His resurrection to have breakfast with His disciples and to restore Peter to fellowship and leadership (see the John 21 passage, also linked above). It was a moving experience to be on that beach (see the attached photo).

 As Luke 9: 23 always proclaims from the mouth of Jesus Himself, being a disciple of Christ is a tough gig, for sure! It requires that we deny our own nature, take on the world and our own flesh, and surrender to follow Christ. It’s as my friend Clay Crosse and his friends sing in the song linked above. And as Os Hillman puts forth in his devotional for today, Jesus wanted His disciples to be “fishers of men,” … i.e, His witnesses (see Acts 1: 8 above), reaching out to the world and drawing in any/all who would be caught in His nets for eternity. Hillman says that it usually takes three stages to become one of His fishermen.

First, there is a GESTATION PHASE where the potential disciple is prepared, … sometimes by a long period of seasoning and challenge. Think of the 40 years Moses had to spend in the wilderness or all those years that Saul of Tarsus went through to be prepared for God’s Kingdom work as the Apostle Paul.

Following the developmental phase is the CRISIS or CALLING phase, as when Saul was knocked off his horse and blinded in becoming the Apostle Paul; or when Andrew and Peter were called from their life of fishermen to become fishers of men (Matthew 4 linked above). Peter also had to go through that horrible crisis of denying Christ before he was ready to become the fisher of men he later became.

Finally, there is the FRUIT-BEARING phase of discipleship, where having been called and prepared, the follower of Christ responds, as sung in the linked song today, and he/she becomes one who is able to use their God-given gifts to shine the light of Christ and to serve His kingdom for God’s glory.

So, it’s pop-quiz time here today. Where are we in God’s discipleship plan, … i.e., His calling, preparation, or fruit-bearing? Are we yet becoming fishers of men?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I’ve been called and seasoned. Use me mightily in surrender to be Your witness, to shine Your light, and to draw in Your nets with Your catch. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online blog entitled Today God Is First [TGIF], authored by Os Hillman. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read Hillman’s TGIF blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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