Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It's the Master!'
This is John's response in a story that takes place after Christ has risen from the dead but before ascending to heaven and the disciples have been fishing all night. As dawn comes, someone from the shore asks if they have caught any fish. They do not recognize who it is and respond that they have caught nothing. He tells them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat; the right side. They do and their nets are filled to overflowing. ~Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It's the Master!'
I was struck by his immediate response to give God the glory for the success. I had to ask myself if that is my natural first response to all success in my life. I know that all glory goes to God and it is the intention of my heart to always give Him the glory at all times. But if I am honest with myself, I can't say that everytime a good thing happens the first words in my head or out of my mouth are 'it's God'!
If I have been praying for a specific thing, or asking for a specific result that I know I am completely unable to do in my own strength...I'm very quick to recognize the answered prayer and give God the glory when it happens. But in situations like that, I am expecting God to show up and looking for it to happen, ready to give Him the glory when it does. I'm ready for it and looking for it.
But this verse struck me because they weren't looking for it. They didn't recognize Jesus when He spoke to them, and they didn't pray for God to show them a new place to fish so they could have success. They were tired and I can only imagine a little defeated by the night's pointless labor. Some stranger tells them to try the other side. What made them do it without question is another topic for another time, but when they did and had success they immediately recognized it as the work of Jesus.
Oh how I want to have that kind of God glorifying reflex. God knows my heart is there, but I long to be the kind of Christian who's flesh has that automatic response to every good thing in my life; responding without a second thought with thanks and glory to God.
Maybe you are there already and I thank God for your reflection of His work in your life. But I'm a work in progress thankful that God is the patient creator and perfector of my soul!
What do you think?
If you need to be encouraged to exercise those God glorifying reflexes, CLICK HERE for a printable soul food recipe card to carry with you for daily encouragement.
I was listening to an XM Radio commercial for the Catholic Channel on Fox News during this morning's drive to school. The clip made an interesting point. Society is so expectant of the fast food, instant gratification, GIVE IT TO ME NOW lifestyle, that we tend to treat Jesus the same way. We pull up to the Jesus Drive Thru, give him our order (wants, needs, questions, etc. . .) and expect that by the time we get to the check out window, we should have answers and results. The problem with that mentality is the Jesus really wants a relationship with us and anyone who is married will attest that "relationships" take time and effort. When you pull through, do you ever get to know the girl handing you the Happy Meal? Of course not. Dear Lord, please help me through this day, and by the way can I get a toy with that?
Cindy and I share frequently and she is very familiar with my passion to see Christians develop healthy eating habits around the table with God. Relationships of all kinds are formed around the dinner table, not at the drive thru window! God is calling us to spend time at the table with Him daily...we just have to pull up a chair! When I think of it this way, I become aware of the times I left God sitting at the table alone or when I have put something else in His chair.
I am so glad that God never gives up on me. My soul hungers for time with God. The table is set and I am invited daily to pull up a chair. Lord, forgive me when I put other priorities in Your chair. Lord, forgive me when I leave you sitting at the table alone. Lord, thank you that my reservation for 'dinner for 2' never expires. Lord, thank you for creating in me a new sense of urgency to spend time in Your Word daily.
p.s. how do you spend time with God? What are your devotional times like? Share here and then hop over to Heart Reflections to see what others are saying about devotional time.
For me, I was inspired to take another look at a Psalm that has been a long time favorite of mine. In fact, I've posted about it in the past and shared how the first few verses of Psalm 31 have given me great comfort in knowing I can ask my Father in heaven to bow down His ear to me so I can whisper into it my fears, concerns and guilt or shame without fear of judgement or being rejected.
Karen shared in days 2 and 3 of her Psalm tutorial that we should take our cue from David in the second portion of Psalm 31 and spend time voicing our laments. Like Karen, I have always felt like a whiner if I took too much time voicing the things that bother me. However, as I shared in my reflections on the first few verses of Psalm 31 in the past, I need to take time to whisper into His ear what He needs to hear.
It's not that He doesn't already know it, it's just that He wants me to acknowlege it. There is something about saying it outloud to Him that brings a deeper level of intimacy to the relationship. For me, it reminds me of my complete dependence upon Him. I confess that I struggle with feeling like I need to have it all together. I know that I don't, but admitting it to God used to feel like failure. Maybe it is the 'first born' syndrome of being the one in charge or labeled as the 'fixer' of the family. Or maybe it is that darn driven personality type that can't be happy with anything but an A+ on the report card. Whatever it is, I confess it to be a limiting factor in drawing close to God if I let it.
So taking a cue from David, as suggested by Karen, I began writing my version of the second part of Psalm 31; my lamentations. (see Karen's suggestions for getting started at this link) She shares her lamentations by filling in the blanks of statements like "When I think of....it hurts. When I wonder if....it hurts."
I am not sharing my personal laments here today (there is a reason I ask Him to bow down His ear so I can whisper them to Him), so I know you will understand; but let me just shout out how wonderful it is to take these thougths to the Lord. It's all about being real with yourself and expressing in words where you feel you are failing, how you feel hurt, why you feel lonely or in despair. Whatever it is, this is a part of us that God is fully aware of but we want to cover up to the world. The act of writing our laments is freeing. God knows this, which is why it is designed to work this way. Get deep and real with God, expose your hurts, fears and frustrations to Him and be opened up to His healing.
Which leads to the third part of the Psalm writing...giving Him the praise and glory. As I practice this lamenting more and more, I soon find myself leaping with joy! Not because all of my problems are solved in an instant, but because I am instantly reminded that I am in my Father's hands and He is in control. I am reminded of my children as teenagers, laying on the bed with me and crying about life, friends, struggles frustrations. So overwhelmed with growing up that they just need someone to listen and the tears begin to fall. This lament writing is a lot like that!
Most of all, I am reminded that my joy comes from knowing I am secure in my salvation and blessed with the riches of heaven.
I've already carried on too long today ~ and some may have given up reading 500 words ago :) so I'll stop here and carry on some more another day. For now, I need to whisper a few more words into my Father's ear.
What are you thinking?
Then today I was at my friend Paula's blog where she shared her thoughts on how amazing God is and how little we understand how He thinks and acts. All of these thougths came together for me this morning, so here is what I was thinking ~
I now see how God has used the circumstances of my past to grow my faith in Him. Looking back at the things that were painful, I now see that I was being carried in God's hands the entire time, and the pain was me thrashing about trying to get out! If I had just been still and listened to His leading...but then that was part of the lesson wasn't it! Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have that kind of deep faith and relationship at the very beginning of my walk with Him, or at least have learned at a little faster pace than I have! I guess this is what drives me to want to share what I have learned with anyone that wants to talk...so that others might see God's hand in their lives sooner than I did and not miss out on the joy of a dependent, faith driven, deep relationship with our Father.
Mark 1: 40-42 40 ~A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." 41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
What struck me was the 'If you are willing / I am willing' parts. I marvel at the humility of the man with leprosy that he would acknowledge how Jesus didn't owe him a healing, but could choose to give it to him if it was right. This man seemed to know that Jesus was so wise that if healing him was not the right thing to do at the time, then he was ready to accept that as what was best. And when Jesus said "I am willing"... it spoke so loudly to me. How many times in my life have I asked for healing, helping or rescue and not received it the way I asked for it. I see now that God was not willing because I needed to grow in my faith in Him more than I needed what I was asking for.
This has changed my prayer life recently. I find myself asking, "Lord, if you are willing..." and then I rest in the knowledge that He has the power to do whatever is asked, but will do what is best for me, which is what will draw me closer to Him.
What is God saying to you today?
However, as I prayed that morning, I specifically asked for God to make my flights timely. It was a purposeful prayer, as I felt led to pray for timeliness, not on time flights. I even considered the wording as I prayed, defering to my faith in God to be in charge vs. me telling God what schedule to adhere to.
As I stood at the airport, waiting for the announcement for the first group to board, the attendant instead announced that the plane I was waiting to get onto had just now pulled into the gate. DELAY. I remembered my prayer that morning and rested on my faith that God would take care of this. My thoughts went to several ways He would be able to do this.
- My flight out of DFW could be delayed by the same amount of time
- I could be put on the next flight into Tyler without any overbooked flight issues.
- I could call my husband to drive from Canton to Dallas to pick me up.
So, I relaxed and chose not to stress over the obvious fact that there was no way I was going to make that tight connection now. I'd let God guide and direct me to plan B.
As I sat in my assigned seat on the plane, the captain came on the intercom to apologize for the late arrival into Minnesota, explaining that there was a strong headwind that slowed their flying time. He went on to say that this same headwind would now be our strong tailwind taking us back to Texas. This meant we would fly faster than normal, thus our estimated arrival time to DFW was 20 minutes earlier than the original arrival time on my ticket.
AMAZING! Our God is AMAZING!! We ended up landing at DFW 30 minutes before the scheduled time, with an open gate to accomodate our early arrival (for those that fly frequently, you'll understand how miraculous that was in itself!). I had a full hour to make my connecting flight.
God's timeliness is better than any on time schedule I could ask for. I love that I can trust God with the details. And I love that I can trust Him to be 'timely' in everything in my life. What may be a headwind slowing me down today could be the tailwind that drives me forward tomorrow. I can trust God to guide and direct my path completely.
Have you had a life experience where it seemed that your plans were being slowed down only to see later than God's timeliness was in control of the situation? We'd love to hear it!
God Bless and Keep You,