Are you Standing on Whales Fishing for Minnows?

                                       Find a Purpose Driven Life

                                                                             

I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service, and perseverance,

and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

Revelation 2:19

One of my favorite pastimes is fishing. I don’t go as much as I would like to, but when my two sons, my son-in-law, and my good friend Jim go fishing each year, we have a great time. We have a contest to see who catches: the first fish, the most fish, the biggest fish, and the prettiest fish. It makes the time out in the boat a little more exciting.

So, of course, I am always looking for that first fish. I never seem to be the lucky guy who catches the first one, but when someone lands that first one, it is the most exciting moment. Everyone in the boat gets pumped. They begin to watch their own lines more closely. It gets the game started to see who will win in the other categories. 

Many times in the past, I have looked for something that would help me be a better person—to be a winner. I needed to catch that first fish to get me excited about having a purpose in life. I tried to find ways that I could help others. This was a struggle because of my own insecurities and doubt. I thought at one time that I would not succeed at anything—that I would never catch any fish. I didn’t know what my purpose was. I questioned why I should keep looking for something that would improve me. I also thought that I shouldn’t be trying to help others if I couldn’t even help myself. I wasn’t getting any bites.

I see many people with this affliction. They go through life trying to find their purpose and never accomplish anything. Vincent Van Gogh said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything.” We spend too much time doubting that we can accomplish anything. But there is one thing we are successful at: Accomplishing nothing!

Teddy Roosevelt also had something to say about this: “In a moment of decision the best thing to do is the right thing; the worst thing to do is nothing.”

            It’s very possible that what you’ve been looking for in your life is right under your nose. It is the old, “I can’t see the forest for the trees” thinking. There are many things God gives us that are part of His purpose, but we never realize they are part of what He wants for us.

Try looking around and see if God has a purpose for you—something that is staring you right in the face. It could be that first fish wanting to bite your bait. It could be right in your home church. Do you enjoy talking to children? There are many volunteers needed in the Sunday school department. People are needed to usher (that’s what I do), sing in the choir, help in your church’s information center, be a greeter, or be on a prayer team.

It could be somewhere at your workplace. Your work is not only how you provide for your family. In fact, your job might be more rewarding if you realized God put you there for a purpose. Since God has placed you there, find ways that you can serve Him as you do your job.

            Many people are Christian soldiers on Sundays—and AWOL on Mondays. We need to think about God and how He may want to use us for His glory. He talks to us all the time, but sadly, many people do not listen. He gives us all we need to catch many fish. We have many possibilities for close encounters with God and we often let them pass by.

            Try fishing in the morning newspaper. Look over the articles. Study the stories. Where is there a spot where you can have fun and still serve God? God may want you to volunteer at the YMCA or as a Big Brother or Sister. There are many children who need adult guidance, who do not have a parent to give it to them.

            As the verse at the beginning says: “I know your deeds ….” I wonder what God thinks of my deeds at this point? Does He think I have served Him well? Am I listening to Him and following His lead? Or am I standing on whale fishing for minnows?

            We need to open our eyes and thinking to what God has in mind for each of us. He wants the best for us, and it’s time to stop fishing for minnows! There are many big fish out there, and He wants us to catch some of them for Him. Let’s not delay. Let’s cast out our lines and catch that first fish.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.

Luke 12:35

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in that faith and in the knowledge of

the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11–13

 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest

if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,

especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:9–10

  

Further adventures

Think about what your goals in life are. Do you have something you feel you would like to accomplish? Is it the purpose God has in mind for you for serving Him? Go for it! Step up to the plate and hit a home run.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that when you give rather than receive you feel much better?

(Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.) Chapter 25


You Need to Keep God’s Number on Speed Dial

Before tonight’s post, I want to remind you that there is a countdown on the free book give away for November. The book, Moments This Good: The Softer Side of  Alzheimer’s, by Bonnie Nester, with her personal note and autograph in it, will be given away in a drawing on November 9th at 6:00 P.M.

This is a wonderful book about one families struggles with   for a loving mother named Ruth. This book will have you in tears and laughing often too.

I highly recommend the book, because I am a caregiver for my 92 year old mother. I know what pain, and anguish can come when you see a loved one slide into a world that has no memories, or independence.

To have a chance to win this book you go to the right sidebar, and click on the icon that talks about subscribing to my free newsletter. Notice that you will also be able to download a free eBook, called, The Top 25 Ways to Survive in a troubled World.

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With God There are no Toll Fees, Long Distance Fees, Just love Coming Down

 

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great

and unsearchable things you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3

 

Does it feel like the walls are closing in? Do you look out the window and see darkness in the middle of the day? Are all your good times turning into bad times? Do you look for help, but find none?

Join a few million of your closest friends in the world who are in the same boat as you. And the bad news is: The boat is overloaded and sinking.

I have been there, my friend, when none of the doors I’ve knocked on would open. You feel you’re surrounded like General Custer at the Little Bighorn and have no ammo left. I have been at the place when I didn’t think I would find a way out of the mire and muck.

What can we do when the all the world is on our shoulders and the weight is crushing us? Why isn’t there a place to go for help? Why isn’t there a website that advertises, “Come here with all your troubles, and we guarantee that you will leave here with all your worries taken care of”?

There isn’t such a place, so the issue of where to turn at a time like this remains.

There is a place to go for help! There is a place to be rescued! There is a place where we can find peace! There is a place where we can leave our worries and you not have to have them around to bother us.

That place is where God is—in heaven. He has a huge answering system that puts cell phone companies to shame. He can answer all His calls at once. There is not a phone company in the world that can do that.

He accepts collect calls 24/7. You say, “Will you accept my call and the way I am?” He says, “Of course. I made you in My image, and you are My child.”

It’s a free service. No fees for long distance. No fees for minutes used. No hidden fees that you have to repay. Just an open line where you can talk as long as you want. You can expect a good listener and someone who loves you very much on the other end.

You’ve made phone calls to companies seeking help, only to be sent through a mechanized system that has you pushing numbers in hope of talking to someone who breathes and has a brain. Then when you get to them, they don’t understand your problem or they brush you off like lint from a coat, saying they can’t help you. They ask you to send them a detailed letter about your problem and before they can get back to you with an answer.

By this time, you’re steaming and just give up. You don’t want to go through the hassle, and the bad guys win.

That doesn’t happen with God’s speed dial. He is right there in an instant, listening to your needs. You can talk to Him knowing He cares and wants to help you with your problems. You can talk to Him as if He were sitting right next to you, not like an operator thousands of miles away who doesn’t understand your problem or care about your needs.

I once thought that God didn’t have time to listen to my “little” prayers. I’ve had prayers like: “God, I’ve lost my cell phone; would You help me find it?” I’ve also prayed; “God, my car just died; I think the battery is dead, and I need someone to help me.” I’ve even said this prayer: “Lord, I fear I’ve lost my wife’s bag with all of her personal belongings in it. Please help us find it somehow.”

I’ve had all of these things happen. In every situation, God sent instant help. Right after I had prayed about my cell phone, I got a call from the local pizza place to let me know they had found it. Right after I prayed about my car dying, a man came up to my car and asked if I need help. He had jumper cables.

The last one was a tough one. I had put the bag with Charlotte’s makeup, hair products and skin care products in it on top of the car because it had rained earlier. The ground was too wet for me to put the bag there. After I closed the back of the SUV, I drove off. The bag fell off somewhere on our way home from a trip to the Coast.

We live seventy miles inland, and I didn’t notice I had lost the bag until we got home. I had to tell Charlotte what had happened, and she not only was very angry, she broke down crying. (I know what you are saying guys: “It is only makeup!” But this caution, gentlemen: Never lose your wife’s makeup. You may not survive the aftermath!)

I lost the bag on a Monday. I prayed that night for God’s help. This would really need a miracle. It could have been anywhere along seventy miles of road.

Later that week, I got a call from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office to let me know someone had found the bag and turned it in. It was Charlotte’s bag and everything was in it. I had it back in her hands in a couple of days. Isn’t God awesome?

What are the chances of someone finding that bag and deciding to turn it in instead of keeping it? And of the Sheriff’s Department being able to locate us? The only thing in the bag with any identification on it was a prescription bottle with Charlotte’s name on it.

God takes care of the big worries and the little ones too. He doesn’t look at each one and say, “Boy, this one is pretty petty: I’ll just forget that one.”

He may not answer all our prayers the way we want, but even an unanswered prayer may be an answer to your prayer. Sometimes we pray for something God knows isn’t right for us. He knows every hair on our heads, and that means He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, and what is best for us. So if God is silent, we need to stop and think about what we prayed for and go back to Him. We need to ask if this is what He wants for us instead of saying this is what we want.

So if the dark side has been knocking on our door, if “the good life” is only a song in our mind, if we have been zigging when we should have been zagging, we need to call on God. He has humungous shoulders for us to lean on. He has big strong arms to hug us and hold us. He has an understanding that no other man can comprehend. He accepts calls in the wee hours of the morning. He accepts them when we are in a darkened alleyway. He listens when we are out in the middle of a lake. He can hear us when we are inside a cave. Cell phones can’t do that.

We can turn to God with our SOS signal for help. We can give Him all our hurts, failures, illnesses, divorce, addictions, immoral thoughts, and have Him throw them into the sea, never to be seen again. He wants us to have a long talking relationship with Him through our constant calling on Him.

And we may hear Him calling us, too. He has a way of ringing in our ears, with ideas about things He wants us to do. Let’s not hang up on Him. These are wonderful close encounters with Him. He doesn’t speak to us every day. When He spoke to me, it changed my life forever.

Give God a chance. Let Him walk with you through life. Give Him a call to help you in your time of need. After all it is toll-free, so it doesn’t take a toll on your life.

 

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,

who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

Further adventures

Try spending a few minutes each day just sitting and talking to God. It is a good habit to get into. Sometimes it is good to just listen. Look at the word listen. Did you know that you can spell the word silent with the same letters? Listen and be silent before your God, and wonderful things will happen.

 Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that prayer can movemountains, divide a sea, and save men about to be eaten by lions, but most people don’t believe in prayer?

(Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.) Chapter 23

Our Churches are in Trouble. They are not Prayer Condidtioned.

Before I put in my post for the day, I would like to remind you that the free book give away of,  Moments This Good: The Softer Side of Alzheimer’s, by Bonnie Nester is still available to be won in our drawing. There are only a few days left, so go to the right side bar and click on the icon that talks about subscribing to my free newsletter.

You will also notice that you will receive a free eBook when you subscribe.

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The Church Is Prayer-Conditioned

 

Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Matthew 7:24–25

 

The church today is often at the center of controversy—from within and without. The far right has its agenda, but it isn’t always right. The far left’s agenda causes it to sometimes be left out of the mainstream. Lawsuits against churches run from those bordering on frivolous (zoning controversies) to more serious charges like those against clergy who have molested children.

We are told in the Bible that this kind of divisive behavior will increase so that brothers will be against brothers, fathers against sons, wives against husbands. Not only is the controversy from outside the church, it takes place right within its walls. That is one reason there are so many different denominations. When people agree to disagree, the easiest thing to do is leave and form a congregation more to their liking.

Why does this happen? Why do people allow their differences to separate them from the true purpose of the church—to worship God?

I see one glaring reason: the lack of prayer in the church. So many ministers are what some call “current-events” ministers. They do not preach from the Bible, and speak instead about issues of the day on which they have an opinion. In the process, they do not bathe their ministry in prayer. 

That is not about worship; it is leaning on a political agenda instead. That is not what God had in mind when He laid out plans for the early church in the book of Acts and throughout the epistles.

Without prayer, a church’s foundation is laid in sand, and it will topple and crumble as easily as Saddam Hussein’s statue did in the Iraq war or as easily as a sand castle, no matter how carefully it was engineered. The church will go over a cliff just like many sheep do when they are all running in the same direction. The leader of the church will do all he can to stop them, but they will run on without him to their death.

There is a way to do a U-turn in all of this. Pray without ceasing! Here are some crucial words from Paul the Apostle: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

Is that hard to understand? I’ve told my students that when they lose their way in their studies to go back to the basics. What is the basic foundation of your math problem? What is the basic idea behind a sentence structure? What is the basic thought about this culture? The basics! Stick with them and you’ll figure it out.

The basics of a church’s survival are prayer and more prayer. It is using prayer to seek God’s will. It is using prayer to plan for the next revival. It is using prayer to withstand the enemy, who wants your church to fail.

Two things should be happening within a church to make it a growing viable church: The minister needs to be preaching from the Bible, and there has to be powerful prayer support from within.

Having the church prayer-conditioned will make for cool summers and provide for lots of spiritual growth.

I have attended several churches over the years. I didn’t stay for much more than one sermon in those that weren’t built on the proper foundation—Bible preaching and prayer. They refuse to let God run the show and eventually find themselves with declining attendance. They didn’t realize they were worshipping in God’s house, not their own house.

Check out the foundation of your church. Is it prayer-conditioned? Does it have the Bible as its guide? Or do you hear about the latest best-selling book or about why gays shouldn’t be allowed to be part of the church? These issues are about opinions and have no place in the pulpit. Church is where we come to worship God. End of story!

Try to put God first in your church, and it will be as solid as a rock.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5–6

Further Adventures

We sometime take prayer for granted. We say, “Help me through the day Lord.” But do we really think about what we even said. You walk out the door and go to work, and ask God to help you through the day. That is way too broad of a request. There are hundreds of things that could happen in one day.

We do this in the church too. We pray for the sick of the church. We pray that the members will donate more money. Those prayers are also too vast to let God know your specific needs. When we pray for the sick, we need to name individuals and hold them up to God. When we pray for more giving, we should point out specific projects that we are working on.  Yes, it takes a lot longer, and you think God will know all of the sick, and all of the needs of the church, but He listens to earnest, sincere, and concentrated prayers with a deeper love and understanding.

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that if we trust God, we can build a foundation that will never fail?

(Excerpt from Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.) Chapter 21