Sunday, January 27, 2013

A different Kind of Church Service

It’s morning, not long after sunrise. The early birds have already had their first couple of shots of caffeine and their low fat, low carb, low sodium breakfast is just a memory. Late risers are just shuffling toward the coffee pot and fumbling for the on switch, unable to see very well because their eyes aren’t open yet. Shop keepers are sweeping their front steps and opening their doors, venders are hurrying to their places along the streets, carts and baskets loaded with goods they hope to sell to the public. Fishermen are cleaning their nets, some exclaiming over the cash they received for the long night’s toil, others wearily shrugging their shoulders and saying to themselves, “Maybe, we will do better tonight.” A crowd gathers by the lake shore. It’s noisy. Men are talking, mother’s are shushing their children, short folks are pushing toward the front to get a better look, those with difficulty hearing are straining just to be able to hear the man standing apart from them. He isn’t much to look at; average height, average looks, average clothes, but there’s just something about him, and no one seems to be able to take their eyes off him. Some say he is a heretic, a blasphemer. Some say he is a holy man. No one knows’ what to think, but everyone it seems has decided to stick around and hear what he has to say. As you watch, the man steps over to a couple of fishermen who are readying their nets for the evening’s work. He talks to them and asks if they will row their boat out a little way and keep it there while he talks to the people. The men nod and soon they are out a ways from the shore, and the man starts to talk. He preaches, kind of like you’ve heard in church, but instead of ending the service with a prayer and a song and heading off to the local buffet for lunch, that strange man tells the fishermen to drop their nets in to the water. Now, these fishermen were the ones who had been out all night and caught no fish. They tell this man that. They say, “Master, we’ve been out here all night, and in that time, we didn’t catch a thing. But we don’t have anything better to do, and you seem like a kind man, we’ll do it.” They drop their nets, and wonder of all wonders, it’s like the fish had a double latte for breakfast. As if they had swallowed jumping beans, they hop in to those nets, and there are so many that the net starts to break. Frantic, the fishermen call for their partners, those Zebede boys to come help. The men come to the aid of their friends and they all start piling the fish in to their boats. There are so many fish that the boats are beginning to sink. Simon is one of the fishermen, and he can’t believe what he has seen. He wonders aloud why this holy man would have anything to do with him. Simon tells him he is a sinful man. But, Jesus tells Simon not to be afraid, that from now on Simon will catch men rather than fish. Simon, as you would expect has no clue what Jesus means by that. All he knows is he wants whatever this man is offering. He rather likes hearing a cermon and being fed by the preacher, afterward. Sure beats waiting in line at the local lunch buffet. So, he brings his boat to land and leaves it there and follows Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt like Simon before. Toiled all night and when the morning comes feel like I have nothing to show for it. A sick child throwing up and having diarrhea every hour on the hour, only to have to do major clean up come daylight. A crying infant who isn’t satisfied unless I’m walking the floor, patting her back and singing while trying to be quiet so the man of the house and the other child won’t be awakened by my pacing and singing. Then, when morning comes have to get us all ready and go be an encouragement at church. I just wonder, after one of these nights, what would I say if Jesus asked me to do it all again? It is easy to say we would do it differently. It is easy to say we would do whatever the Lord wants us to do. Easy to say as long as we’re sitting in a patted church pugh, the furnace working overtime to keep us warm, the promise of a hot meal waiting on us at the local lunch buffet, the knowledge right before us that God will provide in abundance, just like he did for Simon with all those fish. And yet, Simon had no promises and still left everything to follow Him. Simon had a family to feed. His mother-in-law lived with him and his wife. He had responsibilities. All Simon knew was that if this Jesus could provide fish like that, all he, Simon needed to do was obey. Lord, may I be as faithful. **Taken from the book of Luke chapter 5**

Friday, January 25, 2013

On a Cold, Friday Morning

My coffee has cooled so that now it is lukewarm, and to sit still any longer in this back room where there is no direct heat will only make me get colder. So, I’ll try to make this short. My internal clock thinks I only need 4 hours of sleep during the night. During the day, however, it thinks I need several hours. Even cutting WAY back on my caffeine intake, doesn’t seem to make a difference. So, I’m going on 4 hours of sleep, I’ll wind down when it’s least convenient and there isn’t anything I can do about it. If I drink more than 2 cups of caffeine in the morning, I’ll be up all night. If I drink no caffeine in the morning, I’ll be asleep when I need to be getting things done. Is there a solution? Maybe not, but I have found a way to get through it; reading God’s word. Sometimes I read my braille copy of the King James and sometimes I listen to an audio copy. The old testament is good to listen to, because the reader reads faster than I can so I get more of an understanding. However, when I want to actually study it, I have to actually read it for myself. I’ve read all of the book of Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel and started on the first book of Kings. As for the braille reading, I’ve been in Romans here lately. Have I gained great wisdom? Not yet. :) But, I have gained some insight. One thing is certain, spending time in God’s word is never a waste of time. You ever tried to make something work and no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t work out? If not, then you’re either too young to know any better or you don’t want to admit it. We’ve all been there. We pray, we go forth with faith, we step out in to the unknown, we give it all we got...and it falls apart. Was God in it? In my case, He has been. Was it His will for it to fall apart? Yep, sure was. We’re taught by popular Christian ministers that God wants us to succeed. We are taught that if it’s His will for this or that to happen, it won’t fail. So, what do I do with something that is His will for it to fail? Well, nothing for it but to admit I was hasty, ask Him to forgive me for the wrong I’ve done and go make things right. It’s not been easy. Talk about humbling myself. But, there’s peace and freedom in humbling yourself before an almighty God, and there’s peace and freedom in realizing He will allow us to walk right in to that pit, just to show us what we’re made of. Am I a failure? No. Did I make a mistake? Yes. But, if God had not allowed me to make that mistake, I would have never known what He has known all along; it isn’t for me. So, it’s been more than 3 months since I’ve been on here, and in that time countless spammers have been trying to post comments to this blog. Annoying! A word to you spammers, “Go away and leave me alone!” As for writing, well, I’ve been doing quite of bit of that. Got about 47 thousand words on a new story. Well, it’s a story I started about this time last year, but it’s still new, and wow, it feels good to be writing again. I kind of feel like i have awakened from a long sleep. Reckon that’s what depression can do to a person. Sure don’t want to go back there, but I suppose depression is difficult to avoid after the death of a loved one. My mamaw will be gone 2 years come Feb. 20, and it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I realized how her death affected me. Nearly 2 years in a dee depression where I didn’t care about much of anything. Not that I don’t miss her; I do...very much. But, I’m on the backside of that hard time, and like I said, I feel like I’ve just woke up. It didn’t happen overnight, but in a way it feels like it. I was reading over some letters i wrote to her , ones I just wrote because I had no other way of expressing my pent up emotions, and I realized that while I remembered how I felt right after she died, I no longer felt the same way. I’m not sure why I’m saying this now, but maybe it will help someone out there. There is hope, so hold on, beloved. As long as Jesus lives, there is hope! And, speaking of our Lord, I came across something I think is interesting. Those who are blind and can not see what is happening on TV can now listen to the movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” It is described by a man, and the subtitles are read by a woman. I downloaded a copy and listened to it twice, and I realized that in Aramaic, the language I am told is spoken in the movie, Jesus’ name is Yeshua. In fact, those who are Messianic Jews do not say Jesus but Yeshua, instead. I’m not sure why that grabbed my attention. I believe the Lord knows we are talking to Him, whether we say Jesus or Yeshua, but if, while on earth Jesus spoke Aramaic and that was how His name was pronounced, then why are we American Christians so sure we have it right? Umm, maybe I’d better not go that direction. lol Happy Friday, y’all. Stay as warm as you can and spend time contemplating the love of our heavenly Father.