Are You Standing on Whale, Fishing for Minnows?

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Today’s excerpt from “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is about finding ways to help others. You don’t have to go to another country to be a missionary. You can find ways to help others right in your neighborhood, or in your own church.


Chapter 25


Are You Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows?


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?


I Need Help learning How to Pray

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Today I am going off the beaten path a little to discuss how to pray. I had a short page or two about in the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” I have some books I have read for a resource that will guide you in this subject.


Where Do I Find Out How to Pray? 

            Prayer has to be the necessary foundation I talked about in the introduction for part one. With prayer you can talk to your heavenly Father, and He will guide you through your trials and daily routines.

            It seems like prayer is the easiest thing to set aside. You often think you don’t have time for it. In reality, prayer is the one thing you need to make time for. All other things should be after prayer.

            I have some books I have read that really have helped me understand prayer. They really taught me how to pray. Check these out and let me know if they have helped you. You can find my contact information in the appendix.

            The following books are all written by Stormie Omartian. You can find any of them by going to and putting in her name. These books were published by Harvest House Publishers:

Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On: Trusting God in the Tough Times. (Her first book; good background information on the life she had to go through to start leaning on prayer.)

The Power of a Praying Husband

The Power of a Praying Wife

The Power of a Praying Kid

The Power of a Praying Woman

The Power of Praying Through the Bible

Praying God’s Will for Your Life: Student’s Edition

The Prayer That Changes Everything (I highly recommend this one)

Break Through Prayer, Jim Cymbala, Zondervan,Grand Rapids,Michigan49530

When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer, Jerry Sittser, Zondervan,Grand Rapids,Michigan49530

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Philip Yancey, Zondervan,Grand Rapids,Michigan49530

Christian Prayer for Dummies, Richard J. Wagner, Wiley Publishing, Inc.,New York,New York10022 (for the beginner like me!)



Where Can I find Hope When There Doesn’t Seem to be Any?

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Today’s excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is about finding help when we think there is no other place to go. There are many people that are in that same boat.



Chapter 24


Take Matters into Your Own Hands; Pray


Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 55:22


Ever feel so desperate you thought there was no place to go for help? Ever felt like giving up?

I have.

That is when I know I need to get a grip, take matters into my own hands—so to speak—and pray to God for help.

Many people in the Bible went through trials just like you and I do. They were desperate and didn’t think they had anyplace to turn either. They were ready to give up.

David is probably the most famous example of someone who let things get so far out of hand that he had weeds all through his garden of life. He became so desperate that he ended up living in a cave for fear of his life.

He had lost all of the friends he had except for Jonathan. He banded together a new bunch of “friends,” who, like him, were misfits. He finally cried out to God from the cave, asking God to show him the way. And God not only helped him get out of the cave, He also helped him become the king of the land he had been banished from. All because he prayed.

Abraham thought that all was lost as far as having a child. He was getting very old, and his wife Sarah was also very old. They were about to give up. They thought there was no hope of having a child. Abraham asked God what to do and God promised him a child. Abraham and Sarah had a son when Abraham was 99. All because they prayed.

Paul could have easily given up. He was shipwrecked, beaten many times, put in prison several times and endured fear for his life at all times. He could have walked away from his mission, but he stayed strong, and led many people to Jesus. All because he prayed.

There are many other examples where a “last minute” prayer saved a life. There is Daniel in the lions’ den. The Israelites had nowhere go, so Moses talked to God about it and He parted theRed Seato provide an escape. Elijah was on the run and God provided ravens that brought him food.

Talk about last-minute desperation. How about having someone die and you think all is lost? You’re getting ready to bury your loved one? Hold on! Not so fast!

In each of the following miracles, prayer preceded them:

Elijah raised a boy from the dead.

Elisha also raised a boy from the dead.

Even after Elisha was dead, his bones raised a man from the dead.

Jesus raised a boy from the dead.

Jesus raised a girl from the dead.

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

Peter raised a woman from the dead.

Paul raised a man from the dead.

God is here today, tomorrow, and forever. He is the same God who stopped Abraham from killing his son; the same God who destroyedSodomandGomorrah; the same God who destroyed the Pharaoh’s army.

Our God, who can show strong force, is the same God who is there for us to soothe our desperate hearts. He is the same God who can be our place refuge, the same God who is there when we feel like giving up. The only step we need to take is to pray. He wants to hear from us and promises to help us in our darkest moments.


May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts

and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16–17


Further Adventures

It’s time for a Bible study. (I just can’t take my teacher’s hat off forever, you know!) Look in the Bible for where prayer was answered. Your concordance should have that information for you. You don’t have to look up every situation. (I am an easy teacher.) But try to look up four or five.

See what God does after a prayer. Sometimes the prayer isn’t answered the way the person wanted. God knows each of us. He knows what we need, and it isn’t necessarily what we want.

See if God’s answer was the best for the person after all. I already know. I read the book.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that we pray for everything under the sun, but when it gets dark, we hide?