Of fishing, baits and lures

I grew up fishing. I fished with my parents on camping trips. I fished with my uncle in a pond on his farm. As the crazy little sister, I was the one who baited the hook with live, wiggling worms and I was the one who took the fish off the hooks.

In reading the Bible, there are lots of allusions to fishing. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus calls Peter and his brother, Andrew, to leave their fishing nets and to follow Him, that He would make them fishers of men. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter himself writes in 1 Peter 5:7 to CAST all your cares onto Jesus because He cares for you. This word CAST is the same word for a fisherman casting (throwing) out his net. It is active, hard work, this casting of nets and casting of cares.

Yesterday, my husband and I were studying James 1:12-15 with our small group.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:12-15 ESV)

According to Blue Letter Bible, that word “lured” [exelkō] means “to draw out” and “is often used in hunting and fishing as game is lured from its hiding place, so man by lure is allured from the safety of self-restraint to sin. In James 1:14, the language of the hunting is transferred to the seduction of a harlot.” Like the seduction of a harlot, temptation lures you off the narrow road and onto the wide one.

The following word, “enticed,” [deleazō] [G1185] is also a fishing word meaning to “bait” or to “catch by bait.” It comes from the root word dolos [G1388] which means guile, subtilty, craft, deceit.

Different lures attract different fish, and different temptations appeal to different people, but ultimately all kinds of temptation lead us away from our good Father’s good gifts and toward our own selfish passions.

Bait is designed to deceive a fish into thinking it’s something good, drawing it out from safety to hook it, leading to its demise.

Isn’t that like the deceitfulness of sin, the allure of temptation? Holding itself out as something good, something that will bring us happiness … and instead bringing despair, heartache and death.

Praying for my own heart, and yours today.

-TWIG

Easter Isn’t … Some thoughts for this year’s Covid-19 Easter celebration

Easter isn’t about bunnies and baskets and eggs.

Easter isn’t about marshmallow chicks and jelly beans and chocolate candies.

Easter isn’t about floral dresses and white hats and black patent leather shoes.

Easter isn’t about freshly baked ham, and cheesy potato casserole and jello salad.

Easter isn’t about seeing our grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins and babies.

Easter is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter is about giving thanks for His sacrifice on our behalf.

Easter is about reflecting on the new life offered to us through Jesus’s power over death.

Easter is about reminding ourselves that our days are numbered and that God holds every one in His hand.

This year, Easter is going to look different than Easters past, but maybe that’s good.

We might not gather together for egg hunts, but we can gather together in our hearts to celebrate the resurrection power that is STILL available today through faith in Jesus Christ.

No power of hell or scheme of man, certainly no virus here on earth, can have victory over the One True Almighty God.

Thirsty?

This morning I picked these pretty yellow flowers and put them in this little vase. Within a few hours, they had drank up every drop of the water and wilted. I refilled the vase and within an hour they had perked right back up again.

It got me to thinking about how quickly I can feel wilted … and how I easily I can be refreshed when I take the time to go to the fountain of living water.

In John 4, we read the story of a Samaritan woman meeting Jesus at a well. Jesus invites her to drink of the living water that He can give her, promising that she will never be thirsty again. Does this mean that the woman will never need to drink water again? No, I’m quite sure that’s not the case.

But, does Jesus mean that this woman will never need to pray or read the scriptures or fellowship with other believers again, if she drinks of the spring of living water that He is offering to her? No, it doesn’t mean that either. This spring of living water is the spring of eternal life, but she would still need, the daily living water that is offered to us through communion with God.

Let me share with you SEVEN ways I’ve found to refresh my soul when I am feeling wilted

  1. Read the Bible – I know, I know … Duh … But, seriously, friends, get out your Bible and read it. Take five minutes or ten or sixty. Read a Psalm. Read John. Read 1 Timothy or 1 Peter or 1 Thessalonians. Read it.
  2. Write out a verse – Pick a verse that you just read, or a verse you saw on your coffee mug this morning, or a verse that God stuck in your head out of nowhere, or a verse that you saw on Facebook, and write it down. Write it with a dry erase marker on your window or patio door or mirror. Write it in fancy script on a note card and mail it to someone. Write it down on the back of an envelope. Write it.
  3. Sing a worship song – I have an ongoing playlist on my YouTube channel called “Worship Songs” where I add worship songs that I love. (I’ve got over 150 there at the moment.) I can just click “shuffle” and I’m drawn into the throne room of God. Or I pop open “Pandora” to the Shane & Shane Hymns channel. Or I just start singing whatever song is in my head that moment. Sing it.
  4. Pray from the heart – God is always ready to hear us, whether we’re praying aloud or silently in the secret place of our hearts. You can pour out whatever is going on. Praise Him for who He is in the midst of a trial; Thank Him for His blessings past, present and future; Confess to Him all those ways you mess up, no matter how big or small; Ask Him for whatever you need. Pray it.
  5. Get outside – As Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” There’s something incredible about getting outside – even if it’s cold, even if it’s hot, even if it’s snowy or rainy or sunny. Grab a chair outside on your deck or balcony or porch or whatever you’ve got right now. Or take a walk if the street’s empty. Outside it.
  6. Connect with someone else – I like being alone, but there’s something really special about letting someone else in when I’m down. Call or text your husband or a sister in Christ. Let someone else know you’re struggling and ask them to pray for you. Don’t let this time of “social distancing” keep you from your family in Christ. Connect it.
  7. Journal – I don’t do this as often as I wish, but sometimes writing down how I’m feeling, or even voice-texting a note, really helps give me a new perspective. Sometimes I can hear God’s still, small voice in my heart as I put my thoughts down, plus it’s such a blessing to look back on things I’ve written down months or years ago and see how God has been working. Journal it.

Just one final thought, sometimes we get so used to feeling thirsty and run-down, that we don’t even notice anymore. We’re wilted and we don’t even know it. If it’s been more than 24 hours since you prayed or read the Bible, trust me here, you need a drink. He’s ready right now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you reconnect with God when you’re feeling wilted?

You are my Sunshine

Today, April 4th, 2020, my oldest daughter, My Sunshine Girl, had planned to be married. God had other plans. She and her Sunshine Guy got married a couple weeks early and I couldn’t be happier for them.

But … I tell you what, I miss her like crazy. “Social distancing” is nothing compared to “daughter distancing!”

Emily and I grew up together. When she was born, I was a baby Christian. I didn’t know Christian nursery songs, so I sang, “You are my Sunshine,” to her night after night as I rocked her to sleep. She has brought light and sunshine into my life like no other.

And now that she’s living in another state in the midst of COVID-19 lock-down, I feel like a part of me is missing (and it is), but that little girl was never meant to be the source of my joy or the light of my life. Jesus was.

Look at these references to light in the Psalms:

  • For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. (Psa 18:28 ESV)
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psa 27:1 ESV)
  • For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. (Psa 36:9 ESV)
  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psa 119:105 ESV)

In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jhn 8:12 ESV)  In Heaven, there will be “no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev 21:23 ESV)

Would you join me in praying right now?

Father, Help me to be grateful for the good gifts that You have given to me. I pray that I would be a spotlight, pointing people’s attention to You and not to me. I pray that my little light would shine like a city on a hill with nothing hindering it. I pray that you would use each of us as candles shining in a dark world that people would see something different in us, that we would live daily as children of light. I pray your blessings on our children, that they would shine for your glory and that we as parents would not make idols of these precious gifts, but that they would be straight arrows for Your kingdom rather than our own. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Pay back time

We are told that we deserve death because of our sin. (Romans 6:23) Aren’t you thankful that Jesus took your place?

Now we can love others because He loved us first. (1 John 4:19)

We can love others even when they hurt us. We can completely trust God, the only Righteous judge, the only one who is perfectly wise, perfectly good, and perfectly powerful.

A word for me today.

– TWIG