Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daily Light - August 31, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face,
because he was to be blamed."
Galatians 2:11

Do you remember the old classic westerns that used to come on television? There was always the bad guy that wore the black hat and of course the good guy with the white hat. The bad guy would go around assaulting people on the stagecoach, in the saloon, and would eventually try to rob the bank. Finally, he and the good guy would meet in the street. There they would stand with their hands by their side and their guns at the ready. The bad guy would have an evil smirk on his face, because he just knew that he was about to take over this town with one pull of the trigger. The good guy's face was set in stone, and he was confident that evil's reign of terror was about to end. Finally, guns were pulled and shots were fired. For one dramatic second the bad guy smiled as if he had won, but then he suddenly dropped to his knees and then on to his face. Good had prevailed again.
Wouldn't it be easier if all conflict were that clear and simple to resolve? Every one who is wrong would have to wear black hats, and those who are right would have on white hats. It would make a much easier argument, and we would be able to avoid the confrontations that most of us dread. Our passage tells us that two good guys came face to face in conflict. Peter was acting differently toward the Gentiles whenever the Jews were around, and this infuriated Paul. So, how did he handle it? He handled it scripturally. We could learn much from this event in how to handle our own conflicts. Paul could have avoided it all together and just decided not to get involved. However, there was a cause and a purpose that needed him to speak up. Paul could have gone to Barnabas and some of the other Apostles and told them how disappointed he was with Peter, but that would have only sown discord among the brothers in Christ. Paul could have angrily blown up at Peter and damaged their friendship and future ministry, but he knew that there was a greater purpose here than his opinion.
When we have issues and problems with other brothers and sisters, it is imperative that we handle them Biblically. We are servants together for the cause of Christ, and we must know how to love others as we would have them love us. There are three principles that will help us handle these conflicts in a way that honors God. First, be direct. Deal with the individual involved and leave every one else out of it. To bring others into a personal conflict is unfair to those whom you bring into it and the person with whom you have a problem. Second, be honest. Tell them exactly what the problem is and do not talk around the problem. The essential message of Christ is truth and that truth should spill over into every area of our lives, even conflict. Third, be loving. The Bible commands us to speak the truth and do it in love. Many times it is not as much what you say that is important as it is how you say it. Recognize that person as a child of God like yourself that needs to be confronted with truth and love at the same time.
May you find peace in your relationships today!

Daily Light - August 30, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Stretch out your hand."
Luke 6:10

What an emptiness there is in feeling completely powerless! You feel that you are of no use to anyone. It is especially difficult when one realizes that it will not be getting any better any time soon if ever. In this passage there is the story told of the man with a withered hand. His hand was most likely drawn up in a grotesque fashion. The muscles and joints of his hand had been deformed for several years, and he was now considered by most to be a crippled man.
There are two interesting things that can be easily overlooked in this story. First, it was his right hand. The right hand is often a symbol of power and authority. Many of you remember a day where it was considered abnormal to be left-handed. For this man to have his right hand withered up was to say that he was more than deformed. He was a hopelessly powerless person. Without faith in Christ that is a perfect description of all of us. The only power that any of us really have is Jesus Christ. Outside of Him we are all withered up and useless. I see this man's right hand representing our faith in Christ to do what only He can do. It was impossible for him to accomplish even the easiest tasks. He was now completely dependent on the help of others. However, the help of others was limited as well. There was no way that they could be there all the time. He needed a complete life change.
The second thing that stands out is where all of this event took place. Luke tells us that he was in the synagogue. People with deformities were often not allowed in the temple and even the synagogue was off limits to some. In the context of the passage, the Pharisees are waiting to see if Jesus would heal this man. It makes me wonder if he was permitted to come in or even brought in just for the eventual confrontation and the opportunity to accuse Jesus of healing on the Sabbath. It is obvious that the man with the withered hand was not the only one that was crippled. He had a physical limitation, but he sat in the midst of a people that had spiritual limitations. They could not see past their law and their set of rules. They were more concerned with their legalistic mind-set than seeing an individual's life transformed. How important it is that we see the big picture of faith instead of limiting God in our personal lives!
Jesus asked the man to do one thing. However, what He asked him to do was impossible. Jesus said, "Stretch out your hand." Isn't that exactly what the man's problem was? He couldn't stretch out his hand. His hand was crippled and deformed. This was a completely unreasonable and irrational request. It would take a great amount of faith for a crippled man to stretch out a twisted and deformed hand. Exactly! This man decided that putting His faith in the request of Jesus was the most important decision of his life.
Have you decided that? What is it in your life that seems crippled, twisted, and deformed? What is God asking you to do that seems impossible? It may be something bigger than you think you are capable of doing. Everyone around you may think it is impossible. It could be that what God is asking you to do goes beyond every thing that you have ever been taught. So what do you do? Stretch out your hand. By faith reach out to the Savior and watch your whole life change for His glory!
May you have complete faith in Christ today!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daily Light - August 27, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back, and I could not."
Jeremiah 21:9

Do you feel it? Is it so powerful that you feel like you are about to burst? Are there days when it is so strong that it seems to be more of a burden than a blessing? If you were to ask these questions to Jeremiah, his answer would be yes to all three. What was it that he felt so strongly? At the core of Jeremiah was the truth of the Word of the Lord. He had been given a prophetic message for the nation of Israel. It was not so much the specific words that burdened him as much as it was the principled message of God's holiness and righteousness. Through his communication with God, he had come to know God more. He saw the intensity of God's holiness, and because of that he could now see his sin and the sin of Israel so clearly. The result of this intimate relationship with God was an intense fire and burden in the life of Jeremiah. This fire would not allow him to hide from his responsibility, and it raged in him so greatly that he could not help but speak up for God.
What about you? Is there a holy fire raging in your soul? Most of us live in the tepid waters of Christianity that have not been stirred for years. The sad part is that we are fine with it. We wake up each day and go to bed at night without ever thinking of how much we need God to do in us. We have grown accustomed to the embers of our spirituality being cold and lifeless. Today, ask God to make every thing change. Look deep within your heart and consider whether or not you are happy just existing in the Christian life. Ask yourself if you want more of God today than you had yesterday.
Jeremiah lived in a land that desperately needed to hear and heed the Word of the Lord. He grew weary from day to day with the thought of their judgment, and in his own power he could not speak. However, there was a fire raging in him so greatly that he was able to speak with boldness in spite of the consequences. We live in a world that needs to hear the message of Jesus Christ. Many of us have children, spouses, parents, friends and coworkers that need to feel the flame of God's truth in their lives. You are God's ambassador to them, but if you are cold and lifeless with no fire in you, you will not share the truth that they so desperately need. Ask God Almighty to ignite a fire with a flame that burns so brightly that all will be able to feel it and see it. Ask God for the flame of boldness to be an intense heat in the very core of your soul. It is only that fire that will allow you to speak more boldly than ever before.
Songwriter Gene Bartlett wrote, "Set my soul afire, Lord, for the lost in sin. Give to me a passion as I seek to win. Help me not to falter; never let me fail. Fill me with Thy Spirit; let Thy will prevail." Make that your prayer today, dear child of the Most High God.
May you experience the fire of God today!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Daily Light - August 26, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"For He is kind to the unthankful and evil."
Luke 6:35

Here is a question for you: is God merciful, or is He just? The answer is yes. There are many of us that want to paint God as one or the other. Some have the idea that God is like a doting grandfather that loves His children so much that he turns a blind eye to their sin. Others have the idea that God is this raging warrior with fire in his eyes waiting for us to fail so he can send curses upon our lives. How is it that we can have such extreme views of God? I think that it is quite simple.
Too often we try to make God like us. Most of the people that we know are either very compassionate people, or they are very stern and strict. Therefore, it is hard to understand the balance of God's mercy and His justice. In the context of this passage, Jesus was instructing His followers to love their enemies. This love was not simply to be a verbal acknowledgment, but He told them that they needed to prove their love by their actions. It is hard for most of us to fathom loving our enemies so much that we look for opportunities to bless them, but that is exactly what Jesus instructed us to do. If you do this, then be prepared to be treated like Christ. What do I mean by that? Christ has shown mercy to countless numbers of men that never returned love to Him. That is why Jesus said to show this love to our enemies without expecting anything in return. One of the traits of a merciful person is that they are willing to be ignored and even mistreated by the very people that they love. The Bible teaches us that God allows it to rain on the just and on the unjust. He does not show kindness to any of us because we deserve it. It is only by His mercy and grace that we receive anything from His hand.
So, does this great mercy cancel out God's justice? Absolutely not. Even though He may show mercy to undeserving sinners, He is still holy and righteous in His very nature. He cannot tolerate sin, and He will not allow it into His kingdom. God in His mercy provided a way for all men to have their sins atoned for so that they might not experience His wrath and judgment on sin. While on this earth He will give men the opportunity of His mercy and grace and display it to them on an every day basis, He is still the judge of all men's hearts. Those who reject the love and grace offered to them will most certainly know that God is a just God in that final day. No man should ever see God's mercy and compassion as an approval of their sinful lifestyle. They should see it as a compassionate God displaying what He desires to do for them for eternity.
May you see God as He really is today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daily Light - August 25, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Matthew 7:5

I read an article this week that said there were free courses available at several locations to help people learn how to handle their personal finances. It would teach such principles as how to live on a budget and how to stay out of debt. Here is the great piece of this article: the classes are being offered by the U.S. federal government! Does any one find it strange that the one entity that cannot operate on a budget and is in trillions of dollars of debt is offering courses on personal finance? It might be best if every federal government official sat through Dave Ramsey's thirteen week course of Financial Peace University. (If you know any thing about Dave, he would love to get a crack at these guys for thirteen weeks.)
While the class mentioned above may seem appalling, the truth is that many of us live our lives the same way. There are many of us that feel it is our life's duty and responsibility to fix every one else. So, we spend most of our day judging what is wrong with people. We have become experts at it. We can pick up on any flaw, even the most minor of defects. Nothing escapes the eagle like eyes of our critical spirit. If only the world would listen to us, it would be such a better place. With this attitude and mentality, we have become exactly what Jesus called us, hypocrites! The word hypocrite is derived from the word that means an actor on a stage. He is not really that character, but he is simply playing a part. A judgmental hypocrite is self-righteous. He has a great opinion of himself and a fairly low opinion of almost every one else. However, his ego is so inflated that he can't recognize his own problems. Every one else, especially God, knows what his greatest issues are, but he cannot see them. Maybe it would be good for all of us to decide that we are going to take a week and ask God to search our hearts and lives to reveal to us what needs to be fixed in our lives. During that same time, we are going to refuse to be critical and judgmental. It is with this heart that we must ask God to remove the plank from our eye.
May you see clearly today!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daily Light - August 24, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Matthew 5:8

One of the greatest blessings that we have is the entire counsel of the Word of God. The Bible is divided into books, chapters, verses, but it is completely united in its message. In a recent study I learned how united it was and how that effectively helps me learn what I need for my life.
What does it mean to be pure in heart? Surely there would be a whole host of explanations on what it means to be pure in heart. As we turn to Scripture however, we learn a lesson about the pure heart from the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 17:3 says, "The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts." Why do you put silver and gold in a refining pot? That is done to remove the impurities. As that dross comes to the surface, it is wiped away and the substance is purer because it has gone through the fire. So obviously, our hearts are only going to become purer as we get closer to God. How close to God can we get? Once again, look at the Scriptures. James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." We can get as close to God as we desire, but it is clear that we must take a step of faith in His direction. The more steps that you take closer to the refining pot which is God, the more that He will take toward you. The closer you get to God then the more you will feel the effects of His holy flame.
This brings us to the last part of the above verse. How are we going to see God? The Bible says that in our flesh no man shall see God. Therefore, a radical transformation has to take place in order for that to happen. As you draw closer to God, you must be aware of one more verse. Hebrews 12:29 tells us, "For our God is a consuming fire." When you wholeheartedly and completely walk into the presence of God, you will be completely consumed by the fire of His holiness. All of the impurities will be removed, and your heart will be absolutely pure. None of you will be left. All that will be left to see is God. You will see only His heart, His desires, and His righteousness. It is possible to see God, but only if we draw so close to Him that there is nothing of ourselves left.
May you feel the flame of God burning in your life today!

Daily Light - August 23, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"With God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

Jesus is watching as a young man is walking away from Him. The young man seems somewhat frustrated, confused, and disappointed all at the same time. He came to Jesus thinking this would be the day that every thing in his life would be complete. He had no worries for money, for business, or for the pleasures of this world. However, he would lay awake at night thinking about how much none of that would matter the day he died. News had come to him that there was a Teacher that was offering eternal life to those who would receive it. This was the answer. Once he gained this there would be nothing to stop him. Life would be perfect. Unfortunately, every thing didn't go as planned. This Teacher, Jesus, had told him that he had to keep the commandments. There was no problem there, or so he thought. Because of his financial status, he had been trained in the finest schools and in all points of the law. He had learned how to deceive even himself into believing that he had kept all of the commandments perfectly. Then Jesus came back to him with an impossible proposal. Only if he went and sold every thing that he had and gave the money to the poor could he truly follow Christ. Obviously this teacher didn't understand that you just couldn't do things that way. He also didn't understand how important all of this wealth was. Jesus' request was impossible.
As Jesus sees the young man walking away, His heart is broken as well. The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus loved him, but Jesus knows that this love is not reciprocated. This young man loves his wealth more than he loves the Messiah that is standing right in front of him. So, Jesus explains to His disciples that it is hard for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God. They are surprised by this statement, but Jesus has just seen evidence of this truth. He has watched someone that thought he didn't need God because he had wealth. With men this is impossible. Why? Because in man's flesh, he cannot begin to imagine doing any thing outside of the boundary of his own desires. Coming to Jesus means stepping out in complete faith and trusting Him only.
While it may be impossible with men, God's power can overcome even the most stubborn of hearts. As we yield to the Holy Spirit, He can accomplish the impossible in our lives. The answer is that we must yield. We must give God what rightfully belongs to Him. Jesus was not trying to get this man's wealth and his possessions. He was telling him that He needed his heart. Jesus longs to do the impossible in all of our lives, but that will only happen if we give every thing to Him.
May you see God do the impossible in your life today!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Daily Light - August 20, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."
Matthew 6:4

We live in an attention crazed society. Every one is looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Recently a flight attendant got angry at a passenger, cursed him out over the intercom, and then deployed the emergency slide to exit the plane. He has since been arrested and lost his job, but at the same time he has become somewhat of a celebrity. A report the other day said that he has now been offered a reality television program with the plot being helping people quit their job in extravagant ways. Obviously, if his intent was to get attention, it is working better than he planned.
Why do we seek and desire the attention of people so much? In one word, it is PRIDE. You can trace pride back to the fall of Satan (he wanted to ascend to God's throne), the fall of man (they were told that they would be like God), and even the tower of Babel (they were going to reach heaven without God's help). Man has constantly been full of himself and desires to get attention, even if it means taking it from God. In this fabulous sermon of Matthew 5-7, Jesus touches on the motivation for why we do good things. It would not be a surprise to any one to know that often people do even charitable deeds for the attention of others. The pharisees were famous for making a show of their charitable giving in the temple. Josephus the Jewish historian tells us that the alms boxes in the temple were shaped like trumpets. Therefore, when one dropped their coins in, it would make a loud noise as it reverberated off the rim. You can imagine the feeling of pride some felt as every one stopped when they heard the noise of such an offering.
Jesus told the audience that the attention they received from men, which was fleeting at best, was their reward. There is nothing that we do that should be for the attention of men. Of course there are times that you will be noticed. However, our main purpose is to glorify God in all that we do. Every bit of attention should be deflected back to God. What if we do something for God, do it well, and no one notices? That will never happen. There is a God in Heaven that notices when no one else does, and He is ready to reward even that which is done in secret. Let's keep our eyes on Jesus and make Him first in our lives.
May you bring glory to God today in "secret"!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Daily Light - August 19, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Luke 14:35

I believe that there needs to be a nationwide seminar that all women go through before they get married. The main topic of this seminar will deal with when it is appropriate to tell your husband something important and the proper way to get his attention before you do speak to him. It is really not that difficult, but many wives have trouble with it. If any sporting event is on (that would include a live event, the replay of a game we've already seen, or news about sports), we cannot hear what you are saying. If what you are about to say is so important that it cannot wait until a commercial (which I can't imagine what would be so important), you must make sure that you have our undivided attention. Do not think that just because we acknowledged you speaking by responding verbally or by nodding our head that we actually heard you. Wow! I feel so much better after getting that off of my chest.
Does that sound familiar to any one else? I know that it does. We all know that it is possible to hear someone say something without ever really hearing them. Jesus knew that about us too. We can become spiritually deaf at times. It is not that we do not hear the teachings of Jesus, but we simply do not pay attention to them. This statement was often used by Jesus to show how much we need to really listen. Having two boys, I know how important it is to make sure they heard what I said. I stand them in front of me and give them verbal instructions then make them repeat it back to me. I imagine that Jesus has wanted to do that with me a time or two in my life. Often we will open our Bibles in the morning to read God's instructions for our lives to only have it crowded out by thoughts of what is coming up that day. Have you ever read a whole chapter and realized that you don't remember a thing you just read? We will sit in a church service and hear the Word being taught, and even though we are nodding in agreement, our mind is a million miles away. We are so busy in our prayer life that we give God our list of needs and wants, and then we get up without listening to what He needs or wants from us. You are only going to listen to God if you have a desire to listen to Him. That is essentially what Jesus is saying. So, do you want to listen and learn, or do you want to continue ignoring Jesus and pretend that you are listening? Let's tune our hearts into His.
May you desire to hear God and hear Him loud and clear today!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Daily Light - August 18, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And Enoch walked with God..."
Genesis 5:24

Do you remember the television program years ago called "This Is Your Life"? The premise of the show was that they would bring back people from a person's past, such as school teachers, high school friends, and others to be reunited with the special guest. When these guests would come out they would talk about how they remembered the person that was being honored on this particular program. It was very interesting to hear what they had to say. Of course as you watched the program the guest was a complete stranger to you, but you got to know them somewhat by listening to how others described them. Don't you think that it would be interesting to find out how others would describe you? I am sure that would make most of us nervous. You never know what some people might say. Think about this for a second. What if the guest that was chosen to describe you was not an old high school buddy or your first boss, but out walked God Himself? He was given the opportunity to tell the whole world what you were like. How many of us are excited about being on the show now?
As you read the Bible, there are times that you begin to run through the list of genealogies, and it can become quite tedious. The first such list is right here in Genesis 5. It starts with Adam and continues through the generations until we get to Noah and his three sons. We are introduced to that fabulous word "begat", and we see it again, and again, and again. This chapter is a generational journal that I am sure was copied from the flyleaf of Noah's Bible. It listed who was born, how long they lived until their son was born, and how long they lived until they died. Many scholars believe that some of the authorship of the Pentateuch changed at these genealogies, and it was a breaking point for the books. Whatever it may be, often there is a golden nugget found in these lists.
Remember our television program that you are on where God is going to tell every one what you are like? The first such case happened in verse 24. The list is continuing on and on and on then suddenly there is a personal word about a man named Enoch. It does not describe his looks, his abilities, his talents, his charisma, or any of his accomplishments. God simply tells us about him: "Enoch walked with God." That is the simplest and yet probably the most powerful thing that God could ever say about someone. Over the years I have heard people be introduced to a congregation. Often you will hear someone introduced, and all of their accomplishments will be lauded and praised before the people. It is meant to impress the audience that is about to hear the speaker or singer. What if the person given the responsibility for introducing the guest walked up to the podium and said, "I would like to introduce to you (Your Name), a person who walks with God"? That is what we should be striving for, but not before a congregation but before God Almighty. What does He think about our lives?
May you live worthy of that introduction!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daily Light - August 17, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come."
Hebrews 13:14

It seems that most of us have some place in our past that we fondly think of as home. Usually, it is where we lived in the impressionable years of our lives. When I think back about growing up, I remember a little neighborhood in Stockbridge, Georgia, where I spent several years of my life. To this day I can remember each of my neighbors names, hearing the train coming down the tracks at the bottom of the hill, riding go-karts with my friend Paul, and climbing to the top of the tree that stood between ours and our neighbor's drive way. The yard was the perfect size for a baseball game, the streets were quiet enough to ride our bikes and pretend that we were Ponch and John from CHIPS (might have to explain that to the kids), and the basketball goal at the end of the drive way was used quite regularly. In my mind this will always be "home". However, at age 15 or so we moved away from that house, and I haven't lived any where near their in 23 years. It is full of good memories, but it is not a permanent dwelling place.
The writer of Hebrews understands this sentiment. He explains in verse 12 that Jesus suffered outside the gate. A crucifixion or even a stoning was never done outside the city gate. It was a picture of the fact that the person being executed was not a part of that city any more. They were truly an outcast. Their name was to never even be discussed again, because they were a shame to the whole of society. When you study the life of Jesus, you read that He never even had a place to lay His head. When He went back home to minister, they only could see Him as the son of Joseph the carpenter. Because of their lack of faith, He could not do mighty works even in His hometown. Through His love for His people (Israel), Jesus Christ came. John tells us however that He came to His own but they would not receive Him. They completely rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They hated the One that came to them so much that they said He was possessed by the devil, that He was a blasphemer, and that He was only worthy of death. To this day there is no celebration of Jesus as the Messiah in His hometown. He is still despised and rejected of men. However, there is a home for the Savior in the eternal abode of Heaven.
One of the greatest identifications that we could and should make with Jesus is that we are not home yet either. This world is not our home. Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that He was going to prepare a place for us. The writer of Hebrews was saying that we shouldn't get too comfortable here. What comforts does this world have for us that even begin to compare with the glory that will be revealed to us for eternity? The world has nothing of lasting benefit for the child of God. It is missing the one thing that makes life worth living, our Savior.
May you look forward to the joy of going home!

Daily Light - August 16, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Looking unto Jesus..."
Hebrews 12:2

The storm is greater and fiercer than these fishermen could have ever imagined. They have seen plenty of storms in their time, but none like this one. When seasoned men of the sea panic, it is bad. They have been rowing as hard as they can for quite some time, but now they realize that they are at the mercy of the storm. They have lost all of their bearings, and they strain to see how far they are from the shore. There is no darkness like being out on the black water with an ominous cloud bearing down on you. Even the best eyes can see nothing in this weather.
Suddenly, one of the sailors catches a glimpse of an image that frightens the bravest of them. There is a spirit or a ghost that is effortlessly walking on the water toward them. Brave men cower while others begin to row as hard as they can in the opposite direction. Suddenly, the ghost calls out and they recognize a familiar voice. It is Jesus! With surprise, relief, and still some fear, Peter says by faith, "Lord, if it is You, let me walk out to You." Jesus welcomes the step of faith and invites him out on the tumultuous sea. Peter hops over the side of the boat and lands on a solid surface. He begins walking toward Jesus with the look of shock on his face and a goofy smile reminiscent of a little baby taking their first steps. The other disciples are regretting that they did not follow suit.
In all of his joy, Peter suddenly notices what he sees around him instead of what he knows to be true. There is a storm still swirling around him, and he forgets that the One who empowered him to walk on the water has not gone anywhere. Peter starts focusing on the "facts" instead of living by faith. There is only one fact that matters a time like this: Jesus is still with You, and He is still on top of the storm. When Peter's faith sank, so did he. Panic sets in on the boat as the faithless spectators look on. As Peter goes under he looks up and sees Jesus and gurgles out a cry for help. He finally returned to his spiritual senses and put his trust in Jesus again. Surely a storm like this would wash him away in an instant except for the mighty hand of God. Jesus picks him up and saves him from his faithless demise. Here is a great question: how did they get back to the boat? Did Jesus carry Peter, or do you think that they walked together? I tend to believe they walked back.
We all enjoy this account of Peter, because we can relate so well. We start out so strong in our faith and feel invincible because of the power of God. However, like Peter, we start seeing the storms, the trials, and we feel the pressures of discouragement, fear and anger. So, we begin to sink. We sink in doubt, anger, embarrassment, and self-pity. Hopefully, it is then that we realize the problem is our lack of faith. We took our eyes off of Jesus. Jesus is not just the beginning of your journey; He is also the end. Faith does not just have a starting line; there is a finish line as well. The write of Hebrews said that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus because He is the author and finisher of our faith. Just as He is with you at the beginning, He will be with you at the end.
Paul said that we need to be confident in the fact that "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." God is not going to leave you hopelessly drowning in the waters of life if you call on Him by faith. He will empower you to get out of the boat and walk all the way with you to the shore if that is where He wants you to go.
May you have faith to walk on water today!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Daily Light - August 13, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Brethren, pray for us."
1 Thessalonians 5:25

Do you ever come to the end of an important letter that you have written and find yourself unsure of how to close it? You are not sure if you should just close the letter or summarize what you have written already. Then, there is that awkward salutation. Do I say "love" or "sincerely"? I remember receiving letters from my wife while we were dating and enjoying how creative she was with the closing of her letter. It seemed to me that the closing of her letter would express that final bit of emotion that seemed to stick with me. Probably one of the classic endings of letters comes from our teenage girls. In perfect teen girl fashion the letter has covered everything in a hyper shot-gun fashion and then comes the end. However, instead of just ending at the salutation, they add the classic P.S. That is not the end though because there is the possibility of a P.S.S. and maybe even a P.S.S.S.
When I study the writings of the Apostle Paul, I am often overwhelmed by the content of his letters to the churches. These letters are literally doctrinal treatise and encyclopedias of Christian living principles. It is literally astounding to see how closely he walked with the Lord to possess the knowledge of God that he had. I can only imagine how the churches would take these letters, make copies of them, and read them aloud to one another. Surely there was much discussion over these topics for days, weeks, months and even years after. Paul was so thorough and literally left no stone unturned. Even with all of this content, I often like to focus on the end of his letters. Many times we fly through these areas, because it just seems like he is wrapping it up and telling the churches that everyone said hello. However, if you look deeper, you will hear the heart of this man. It is in these areas that he gets real personal. He talks about things like being alone at his trial. He tells of how some of his closest friends have forsaken him. He writes of how God raised up himself and others from grave sicknesses to carry on the work. He gives final little challenges to encourage others to keep walking by faith. This little verse above just seemed to me to be so humble and yet you can hear Paul's heart pleading for the prayers of his brothers and sisters. When you read these sections, don't just read the words but strain to hear the voice of this servant of God. Hear him in his joy and agony asking for their prayers, because He knows that only God can help them in their ministry and that is all that he really wants.
These sections of Paul's letters should encourage us to be very honest with people. There is no need to put up a facade in front of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let your heart speak openly to them. You may ask, "What if I open up to someone and get hurt?" My response to that is that is you will know better how not only Paul but Jesus Himself felt. Speak the truth in love, and show people your heart. Many are simply looking for someone to express what they are already feeling.
May you have courage to be honest with others today!

Daily Light - August 12, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria,
was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master...
He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper."
2 Kings 5:1

In this economy many people have had to keep a resume on hand to distribute to hopefully future employers. What do you usually put in a resume? Of course you list the places and years of your previous employment. You would also want to include any significant accomplishments that you have had in the past. You want this future employer to see your credentials and what you would bring to their company. To be totally honest the average resume speaks of a much better person than the one applying. Why? Simple, we don't tell the future employer any of our faults. Can you imagine listing all of your accomplishments and putting in small print at the bottom "habitually late for work", "enjoys taking long breaks on company time", or "once caught stealing cash from a former employer"? I am not sure that would go over too well.
Naaman was a man that had all of the credentials. He was not just a famous warrior and therefore hero among the people, but he was also a man of position and authority. When people saw Naaman in the streets, they stopped and told their children about his exploits. Young men wanted to grow up to be like him. He was by description honorable and brave. However, there are three little words at the end of this verse that make you forget every thing else, "but a leper". Nothing about the rest of his life mattered the day that he found out he had leprosy. This disease had no respect for his position. He was at its mercy, and it would eventually take his life. Leprosy did not care that he was a war hero, an army commander, or a man of bravery and honorable character. Leprosy did not care what the king or any of the Syrian people thought about Naaman. It was going to run its course through his body in spite of all of that.
In my opinion, there is no greater example of sin in one's life than this story of Naaman. There are so many people in our world that consider themselves to be a good person. They will tell you how many times they have helped people, all of their acts of kindness, how often they attended a church, etc. They are trying to give you their credentials and why they believe that they are good enough for God's kingdom. However, there is one major problem; they have a disease called sin. Every single one of us is born with it, and unless we confess that and repent of it we will die with it. In a society that is so action oriented, people must recognize that sin is not so much about what you do as who you are. We are all sinners by nature and therefore we all need a Savior. Jesus Christ came to give His life on the cross, because He knew that we were desperate without His cleansing power over our sin. Eventually Naaman trusted the word of God's prophet by faith and was cleansed of his leprosy. Each of us must trust God's Word by faith so that we can be cleansed of our sin. Don't plan on standing before God with your credentials and think that it is enough. Cry to Jesus and fall on His grace and mercy today.
May you know the power of God's cleansing today!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daily Light - August 11, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God."
Psalm 42:11

I shared this thought with some of our church family last night at our cottage prayer meeting and wanted to share it with each of you today. Because of a number of circumstances in my life this year, I have had some real moments of anxiety and depression as of late. Sunday evening I came home and just mentally, emotionally, and physically fell apart. I had absolutely nothing left in the tank for myself or any one else. My body ached from head to toe, and my spirit ached even more. I climbed in the bed Sunday night hoping to feel better in the morning and woke up feeling worse. There was in me a true state of emotional and physical pain.
For years there has been a philosophy among many believers that I like to call "macho" Christianity. This philosophy says that a Christian should never go through times of depression. They say that because we have Jesus Christ our emotions should never factor in to our personal lives. This sounds good on the surface, but it is not reality. To shame people because of their sincere depression and hurt is nothing short of cruel. A person that is battling with such depression needs encouragement from God's Word and God's people not an indictment on their lack of spirituality. While it is not appropriate for a Christian to remain in this state of depression, there is a process of healing that must take place for them to come out of it.
As I have struggled as of late with such things, there has been one verse (really three) that has played over and over in my mind. One of my favorite Bible characters since I was a boy is David. Notice that I did not say King David; because, unless you know David the boy, the fugitive, and the warrior, you will never know David the king. David, who is called a man after God's own heart, had his bouts with depression as well. Psalm 42 and 43 are perfect illustrations of this internal struggle. Three times (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5) David says the same thing. While suffering through depression, many people feel like the only person that they can talk to is their self. David speaks to his own heart and explores why is he is so "cast down" or depressed. He is asking what the core of his hurt and heartache is. Most people that battle depression talk about a roaring that goes on in their minds and stays with them for days on end. That is why David asks why his soul is so "disquieted". Finally, in his despair he encourages himself because he knows the only answer that will bring him through his trial: "Hope in God." He knows that there is only one refuge of strength that will sustain him and that is the mighty hand of God. He begins this healing process by praising God for who He is. His praise is followed by a prayer of help, calling on the one true and living God.
You may be suffering with troubles that seem overwhelming, but let God be your hope. Remember that the Bible says when our heart is overwhelmed we can call on God to lead us to rock that is higher than we can get to on our own. He is truly our hope, our praise, our help, and our God. I am thankful that this healing process is a day by day walk with Him. As you walk down this road, know that He is beside you whether you can feel Him or not. God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you no matter what any one else does. Trust Him completely!
May you find hope in God today!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daily Light - August 10, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times,
but up to seventy times seven.'"
Matthew 18:22

Do you know the Scripture that teaches that it is more blessed to give than to receive? We teach that verse around Christmas or on other occasions of service. However, I imagine that many would balk against this verse when it comes to the subject of forgiveness. Each one of us knows how much we need forgiveness and also how wonderful it is to be forgiven for our transgressions against others and God. When we know that we have the weight of guilt on our lives, we yearn for the gift of forgiveness to be given to us. If that person does forgive us, it is like feeling an incredible burden being lifted off of our chests. We can breathe again. As a child of God what a comfort it is to know that my sin debt has been forgiven by God and that I am free to live in His grace and mercy.
However, remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Isn't it strange that the one thing we know every one needs (forgiveness) is very hard for most of us to give? Peter obviously had an issue with someone for him to come to Jesus with his question that led to Jesus response about forgiveness. Peter said that he was willing to forgive someone for a repeated offense up to seven times. I don't know how you feel about that, but I believe Peter was being quite generous. To forgive the same person seven times for an offense against you would take an incredible amount of mercy on your part. Peter thought so as well. Surely Jesus would say that seven times sounds about right. However, like He does constantly, Jesus blew our "practical" thinking right out of the water. He gave Peter a ridiculous number: seventy times seven. That is 490 times for the mathematically challenged among us. Why would He give such an incredibly high number? It was simply to make His point that grace has no limit. We do not forgive because it is practical. Forgiveness does not make sense to the human heart. We think more along the lines of revenge. God wanted Peter and all of us to understand that His forgiveness, mercy, and grace go far beyond the practical. When we forgive, we are more like Christ than we will ever be. If there is any one that you know needs your forgiveness today, don't withhold it from them. Give it so that YOU might be blessed!
May you know the joy of forgiveness today.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daily Light - August 9, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying:
'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms?'"
Isaiah 14:16

Do you remember the Scooby-Doo cartoons from years ago? The entire theme was a group of teenagers traveling around in a van and stumbling upon mysteries that involved ghosts and monsters. Of course they always solved the mystery in spite of Shaggy and Scooby's bumbling antics. At the end of each program the "bunch of meddling kids" would reveal who it was behind the paranormal mystery. It was always someone that you had seen earlier in the program like Mr. Smith the janitor. Everything that had happened was a hoax and the "monster" was really a powerless person with a bunch of cheap tricks up his sleeve.
We as Christians most definitely have an enemy. The reason that we have an enemy is because God has an enemy. Satan, one of God's created beings, rebelled against the Almighty and was cast out of Heaven with the other angels that had joined him. Mankind encounters him first in the Garden of Eden when he denies God's Word and convinces Adam and Eve to turn away from what they know is right. Since that time Satan has been on the prowl seeking whom he may devour. He is trying each day to destroy marriages, the lives of young people, churches, etc. He is often depicted as dark, formidable, and with unlimited power. There has been for centuries a fascination with the darkness of the occult. Satan has literally struck fear into the lives of men, women, boys and girls. He thrives on this fear because it makes him more fascinating and even appealing to so many.
The Bible of course warns us in Ephesians 6 to be ready to battle the enemy. He does have power, and he can destroy lives if we submit to him. However, there are other passages that show us how limited his power is. Romans 8:31 says, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" 1 John 4:4 confirms, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." The passage above from Isaiah explains to us that one day God will cast Satan into the pit for eternity. At that moment, in his terror and doom, we will see how weak Satan really is. We will at this moment also know the glory and power of God like never before, and we will see Satan in all of his weakness. He cannot do anything without the permission of the Almighty (see Job). He has no ability to condemn a soul to hell; unbelief in Christ is what condemns us already (see John 3:17-18). Satan is already defeated, and he knows it. That is why he fights so fervently. Proclaim victory over him today by putting all your trust in Christ and giving God all your reverence. He is the only One that deserves our praise and allegiance.
May you recognize your victory in Christ today!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Daily Light - August 6, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13

Have you ever noticed all of the funny excuses that we make for why we can or can't do something? See if some of these sound familiar. "I could never do that on an empty stomach." Of course there is also, "There is no way I could do that on a full stomach." So how do you get your stomach half full or half empty? "If I don't have my morning coffee, then I am no good the rest of the day!" Whoa! That just hit a nerve (especially if you haven't had your coffee yet). "I could never do what they do. I would be too embarrassed." Where did that spirit of fear that you have come from (check out 2 Timothy 1:7 on that). The list of excuses goes on and on and just gets more ridiculous to be honest.
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to Philippi while he was lying in a prison cell. Of course he was in this prison cell, because he had done right by God. What would your letter from prison sound like, especially if you were innocent? We know from other Scriptures that there were many times that Paul had to stand alone at trial with no one to defend him or vouch for him. His needs must have been enormous. His words to the church were not words of doom and gloom. He did not beg them to come deliver him from his affliction. He had no bitterness toward his captors or those who failed to stand with him at trial. However, also notice that he didn't play the maverick either. He didn't think that he could pull himself up by his own boot straps. He had no interest in the self-help gurus of his day. His confidence was not in his abilities, his intellect, or his power of persuasion. Instead, all of Paul's confidence was in Christ.
He explained that he had been at this point in about every situation imaginable. He knew what it was to have much, and he knew what it was to have nothing. He knew the feeling of a full stomach, and he knew the hunger pangs of an empty one. He knew what it was to be surrounded by friends, and he knew what it was to be absolutely alone. He was saying, "There are no excuses for why I can't do all things. The only reason that I can do anything is because Christ is my strength." Do you believe that personally? Do doubt that is not to doubt yourself but God. It is His strength by which mountains are moved. It is His strength by which lives are changed. Put your confidence in Him not matter what your situation or circumstances.
May you make no excuses but only depend on the strength of Christ today!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Daily Light - August 5, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying,
'Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?'"
Luke 7:19

Doubt, it creeps into each of our lives. When we came to Christ by faith, we were so assured that He was the way, the truth, and the life. We had listened to the persuading voice of the Holy Spirit in our heart and conscience. We understood with conviction that Jesus Christ was not only the Savior of the world, but He was our personal Savior. We had joy unspeakable and full of glory as we testified to others what He had done in our life. However, as life went on, the poison of doubt began to seep into our mind. We were completely unaware of it, but it was not long until we felt its effects. Perhaps we didn't doubt that Christ was our Savior, but we struggled with the thought that He was Lord of our lives. Everything was spinning out of control, and it seemed as if God was no where to be found. So we asked the questions in our mind: "Am I living a lie? Is God really all powerful? If He is so loving, how could bad things happen?"
John the Baptist went through this same scenario. The man who was the forerunner of the Messiah is now questioning his life's mission. Why would he do such a thing? Everything changes when you are in a prison cell knowing that your life could be taken from you at any moment. After all, he wasn't there because he had done anything wrong. He was in this position because he had stood up for the truth. That really seems quite unfair. When life is unfair, we begin to think that God is unfair. Bad things shouldn't happen to good people. God must not be in control after all. Our doubt also affects others. Can you imagine what the discussion was like between John's two disciples as they went to Jesus? That is why I compared doubt to a poison or venom. It so easily spreads without any warning.
Where does this doubt come from? Need I remind you that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies? He knows that you will not receive a blatant denial of Christ or His power, so he plants seeds of doubt. He has done that from the very beginning with Eve in the Garden of Eden. His goal however is not simply doubt, but it is ultimately denial. He wants you to doubt that God is good, so he uses the circumstances in your life to convince you that God is not either powerful enough or loving enough to prevent hardship, pain, and tragedy. Jesus knew this whenever John's disciples came to Him, and He responded firmly but compassionately. He told them to realize that everything that had been prophesied about the Messiah was being fulfilled. He was informing John of the fact that the Word was true and that He was the Truth.It is faith in Christ that brought you into this relationship, and it is daily faith in Christ that will sustain it. God who was true at the beginning is true at the end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. When you take an inventory of your life, you will realize that God has kept His promises. It is so true to say that He has been more faithful to us than we have to Him. He loves you with an everlasting love no matter what the enemy may tell you. He is your friend and God. He is your hope and life. He is your strength in your weakness, your light in your darkness. He is Lord of all and the Savior of the world. Trust Him today once again.
May you live free of doubt today!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daily Light - August 4, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Then He put out His hand and touched him,
saying, "I am willing; be cleansed."
Luke 5:13

In the early 80's Princess Diana made news all over the world by a single act of kindness. At that time in our history the AIDS epidemic was growing across the world. There was a lot of confusion and disinformation about the disease. While it was known to be a behavioral disease that was transmitted sexually, there were others, even children that were contracting the disease. The scare had grown to such large proportions that people began to isolate and shun those that had the disease. Princess Di in her elegant way cast a bright light on much of the ignorance of the disease when she went into a hospital ward full of AIDS patients and personally shook hands with each one of them without any gloves or outside protection. The world gasped and many raved about the compassion that she showed on that day.
While what she did was quite powerful, not one of those patients was physically or spiritually changed by her touch. I am sure that it was a comfort to them, and it probably encouraged them as well. When she left, however, they were still men filled with a horrible and life taking disease. Jesus' touch is supreme to that of the princess or of any other person. In Jesus' day the great and horrible disease was leprosy. When someone contracted this disease, they were cast out of society completely and banished to colonies outside the city full of other lepers. As you approached them they had to call out that they were unclean. How they must have longed to be touched?! It had been years since they had felt the gentle brush of their spouse's fingers on their cheeks. They would have given anything to feel the tender arms of their children wrapped around their neck. Even a firm handshake would have been more than appreciated. However, none of this was possible, and they were relegated to loneliness and despair. Then, Jesus came! The leper in our passage cried out for healing. Jesus could have simply spoken the word and this man would have been healed, but Jesus showed more compassion than even the leper could have imagined. With the love of God on full display Jesus touched him. Can you imagine what this touch must have felt like? Maybe the leper withdrew a bit when Jesus' hand started toward him. Or, perhaps he leaned in to the touch with a longing to feel the love of someone. However it may have been, when Jesus withdrew His hand, the leprosy was gone. Everything had changed. His skin was new and the sores were gone. The pain that he had felt for so long was absent from his body. Only one thing now remained: the fact that Jesus loved him with an everlasting love.
Leprosy in the Bible is often a picture of sin. Each of us has the disease and curse of sin on our lives. There is no one that can do anything about this problem, not even ourselves. However, when we cry out to Jesus, recognizing that we are helpless without Him, He comes to our lives and compassionately touches us. His touch of salvation changes everything. He makes us new to live our lives on this earth for His glory, but He also changes our eternal destiny. Everything is different. Our sins have been cleansed and washed away. Only one thing now remains: the fact that Jesus loves us with an everlasting love.
May you feel the touch of Jesus Christ today!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Daily Light - August 3, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Then they all forsook Him and fled."
Mark 14:50

One of our most well-beloved hymns has a very stirring and poignant line in it: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. That thought often makes us step in our tracks and ask if we are capable of wandering away from God. Could you be prone to wandering away from God and leaving where God has placed you? The answer for that question is yes for all of us, and we need to be aware of it before we make this tragic mistake.
As I wrote yesterday's Daily Light about the disciples forsaking all to follow Christ, I looked up the word "forsook". Each time it is used in the four Gospels it is in reference to the disciples. Half of those instances refer to our discussion yesterday. The other half however refer to the most pivotal moment in the life of Jesus. Jesus had gathered with the disciples in the upper room and had taught them the great discourse of John 14-16. Each of them during this time vowed that they would never leave Him and that they would die for Him and with Him if it came to it. Jesus went to the Father on their behalf and ours in John 17. He then took them to the garden where He would be betrayed so that He might spend His last moments with them in passionate prayer to the Father. Suddenly Judas, one of their own, and those from the High Priest came to arrest Jesus. This is the moment of decision. What would they do? Clearly every one of them left Jesus standing there all alone.
Why would they leave? They left for the same reason that we all forsake God and His will for our lives: fear. Fear comes in many shapes and sizes. It is most often in the form of pride. Pride can be arrogance (I don't need that!), shame (I can't believe I did that!), or denial (This can't really be happening!). However it surfaces, when it does we run from God instead of standing and facing the enemy or even ourselves. It is seemingly easier to just get away. Think about it though, is it really easier? The hymn writer said it best when he said we are prone to leave "the God we love". How foolish it is to leave one that we love, but especially the Almighty God! Surely no good can come from forsaking Him. There was a time when Jesus taught some difficult doctrine. Many of Jesus' followers didn't understand it, so they decided to leave Him. Jesus turned to the twelve and asked if they were going to leave too. Peter gave that beautiful answer: "Lord, where else would we go? You have the words of eternal life." Don't ever forget that you cannot walk away from God or His will and be satisfied. It just can't happen. The hymn writer follows his words of leaving God with this: Here's my heart, O, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above. You must let God have your heart and your fears, so that you will not leave Him and His will in a time of crisis.
May you stay close to the Almighty God today!

Daily Light - August 2, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"So when they had brought their boats to land they forsook all and followed Him."
Luke 5:11

There is really only one requirement to following Jesus, but it is the most difficult thing that you will ever do. It involves doing two things simultaneously, because you truly can't do the one without the other. God's requirement to be one of His followers is that we forsake everything else and follow Him only. It is impossible to simply forsake all and not follow Him. If you were to try that, you would be left empty and eventually you would succumb to the pressures of this world. It is also impossible to follow Christ and still be hanging on to the "security" of our own pleasures and comfort.
When Jesus came to His future disciples, He knew that before they could follow Him they would have to lay down the things that they felt were most important in their lives. These men had a comfort zone like all of us. Their comfort zone was being out on the water with the sea air blowing in their faces and the smell of fresh fish in their nostrils. This was not just a sport of pleasure; it was their livelihood. They knew what they were doing, and they were good at it. It consumed them day and night. Most of us have certain areas of our lives that while they may not always be easy we are comfortable with them. We have grown to be very comfortable with certain relationships, tasks, and goals. We have figured out which direction our life is headed in, and we are fine with that. We just don't want anything to rock the boat. What we must realize is that Jesus must do exactly that in order to get us to see how much we need Him!
As far as a personal testimony, I can relate very well to this. I had much of my life planned out and pretty much told God that this is the way it is going to be. Immediately after college God began to mess up my plans on a regular basis. When He did call me to forsake all, I would cling to something that made me comfortable because the thought of not being in some sort of control was terrifying. I assumed that as long as I was in some sort of ministry God should be pleased with that. Finally, I found myself out of the ministry, unemployed, married, and with two little girls. I had at that point absolutely no control of my life. I look back and I think that God looked down at me and with mercy, grace, and love in His eyes He smiled. Because He knew that I would either now follow Him completely or abandon Him. Thankfully, I chose to follow Him. He has rocked my boat many times since then. He has taken everything that I am comfortable with and thrown it overboard and asked me if I am still willing to follow Him. I have lost possessions, family, and friends for the sake of the call. There have been times where I was hurt, because I thought that I was being abandoned only to find out that it was God stripping away those things that I held on to too tightly. Each time I have had a decision to make. Do I hang on or let go? However difficult it might be, the only choice that will really profit my life in the long run is to let go.
What are you refusing to forsake that is keeping you from being the child of God that you need to be? Is it something in the past? Is it pride, embarrassment, or shame? Is there some sin that clings to you like barnacles on the hull of a boat? Maybe you have some relationships that you cannot imagine doing without, but God is calling you to let those things go for His sake. Those fishing vessels meant everything to these disciples, but they did not mean as much as what Jesus offered to them.
May you forsake all and follow Christ today!