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About Grace Hunter

Grace is married, has 4 children one of whom is now in heaven. She enjoys reading, crocheting, puzzles, baking and spending time with her granddaughter. She and her husband have attended South Fellowship Church since 2014. She and her husband Jeff enjoy singing in the choir, working in the nursery and helping with the South Food Bank.

Jesus Piques Curiosity with Questions

“…. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’” John 5:1-6 NIV

 

While teaching his disciples, the crowds and individuals, Jesus asked over 300 questions that are recorded for us in the gospels. If you look at these questions Jesus asked, few are yes or no questions, in fact most are open ended. Many begin with “why” or “how”. These types of questions require both the asker and the listener to spend some time with each other. Jesus did this again and again. He had dinner with tax collectors (Luke 19:1-10, Matthew 9:9-13), he had a complete conversation with the woman at the well (John 4:4-26), He spent time with Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42). Asking open-ended questions is an effective teaching tool, but it only works if the asker is willing to invest the time in waiting and listening to the answer.

Why do you think Jesus taught using questions so much of the time? I was intrigued by this question myself – I was curious. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Jesus taught this way – to peak curiosity in his listeners. I believe Jesus wanted his listeners to think, to not simply parrot “the right answer”, but instead, to think about the question and what it meant for each of them in his or her own life.

Let’s look at a few of the questions Jesus asked. In John 5:1-15, Jesus approached a disabled man at a pool in Jerusalem. After learning this man had been there a long time, Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6 NIV. On the surface this seems to be a silly question to ask someone who cannot walk on their own. Can you think of a reason why this man might not want to be healed? Jesus didn’t heal everyone he encountered. He usually required something of the one being healed, a reason, an action, an acknowledgement of their sin or need, or a willingness to be healed. 

Let’s look at another one. Jesus interacted with an expert in the law who asked about how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus asked “What is written in the law?” He replied, “How do you read it?” Luke 10:26 NIV. After the expert quoted the “right” answer, Jesus answered his further question of “who is my neighbor?” with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus wanted this expert and his other listeners to be challenged in their thinking about neighbors and how God wants us to treat one another. Questions were integral in this teaching moment in Jesus’ ministry.

I went online and found a couple blogs that spoke to the number and kinds of questions Jesus asked. I think I may have found my own personal study for this summer. If you too are curious, I encourage you to do the same.   

by Grace Hunter

 

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Jesus Piques Curiosity with Questions2024-06-20T12:31:32-06:00

The Promised Holy Spirit

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:15-21 NIV [Emphasis added.]

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  John 14:26 NIV


Jesus promises the coming of the Holy Spirit to his disciples during a session of teaching, beginning in the upper room while eating the Passover meal, and on the way to the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. This section of scripture, found only in the book of John, is known by biblical scholars as the Upper Room Discourse. It includes
Chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17 of John. This section of John is full of promises made by Jesus to this community – His disciples.

Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a counselor, as the Spirit of truth, as a teacher, as God who will live inside of believers. John 17 contains three prayers that Jesus prays for Himself, for the disciples and for all his future followers. This prayer is sometimes referred to as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer”. In John 17:20-23, Jesus expresses God’s love manifested in Jesus for His followers.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23 NIV


Love is a common theme in all of John’s books: the Gospel of John, First, Second and Third John and Revelation talk of God’s love frequently. The promised Holy Spirit is important because without the Holy Spirit within us, it is not possible for us as believers to love others as God does. Let’s look at some verses from I John to see this more clearly.

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. I John 3:23-24

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I John 4:7-21 NIV


Each of us who are followers of Jesus has the Holy Spirit living inside of us. This is a personal and private relationship that we have with God through His Spirit living within us. But a key evidence of having the Holy Spirit is how we live in community with other believers, sharing the love we demonstrate with actions and in conversation. Only God (through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit), can manifest this love in us. Can you think of ways the Holy Spirit has enabled you to love others? Can you think of ways others have demonstrated God’s love to someone else? Thank God for ways you have been able to love others in the past and ask the Holy Spirit to work in you this week to be able to love others as God wants us to do.  


by Grace Hunter

 

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The Promised Holy Spirit2024-06-01T11:03:49-06:00

The Power Is in the Spirit

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
II Corinthians 3:2-6 NIV

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV


As we spend time reading and studying the Bible, we begin to see connections. I love the connections I see between the promises given in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those promises in the New Testament. Do you notice some of the same language in both the II Corinthians text and the Ezekiel verses above?
Hebrews 8 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 are two more places where this same covenant is promised in Jeremiah and the fulfillment is explained in Hebrews.

“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws,” Ezekiel 36:27. If you notice, this does not say: “if you try harder, work harder, push yourself to exhaustion, travel to every pilgrimage site, deprive yourself; then you will be able to obey me.” No, what it does promise is: God himself will put His Spirit, The Holy Spirit, in us! Then, with the Holy Spirit in us, He will move us to follow God’s decrees; He will give us the power, the ability, the knowledge, the endurance necessary to be able to obey God. Amazing!

If we try to live the Christian life by striving, by trying to follow every rule, every command in our own strength, we will at some point realize we simply are not able to do it. We will fail, and we will fail again. But that is not what God desires. That is not what God designed. He promised to put His Spirit in us so His Spirit would move us to follow His decrees and to keep His laws. It comes down to surrender, it comes down to allowing the Spirit to move and work in our lives, and each of us being willing and available to be used by Him in that way. Then the power of the Holy Spirit can move, can work, can flow through each of us to impact the world and the people around us. Hallelujah!  

by Grace Hunter

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The Power Is in the Spirit2024-05-26T16:32:04-06:00

The Waiting Game

Waiting. We have all experienced waiting in our spiritual walk. Many in the Bible did as well. David waited many years to become king after being anointed by Samuel as a teenager. Then, once he was king of Judah, he waited another 7 years to become king over all Israel (I Samuel 16 & II Samuel 5:4-5). Hannah waited to become a mother (I Samuel 1 & 2), Abraham and Sarah waited for their promised son Isaac (Genesis 15 & 21). There are many other examples as well.

In both Luke and Acts the followers of Jesus are asked to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 NIV

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:4-5 NIV


In the Old Testament examples I listed, the waiting took years. In Luke and Acts the waiting for the Holy Spirit was about 10 days — from the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. But the amount of time waiting is not important. The obedience, staying where we have been told to stay or going  where we have been told to go; being ready for a gift promised, and waiting on God’s timing, God’s plan, God’s provision; that is the important part.

Are you currently waiting for something in your life? Are you waiting for an answer to prayer? Are you waiting on God to give you direction? Are you waiting for this difficult season in your life to be over, to move on to a more peaceful calm or less grievous state?

If you find yourself in a time of waiting, let me suggest that being about the business that God has given you for today is what you should do. In the GriefShare curriculum, one of the key things stressed for grieving people is to “do the next right thing”. Don’t focus on next week, next month or next year. Instead look at today, this morning, this hour. Do the next right thing. Pray, wait, seek God and Godly counsel, and wait on the Lord. He will be faithful to do what needs to be done, to show what needs to be shown, to direct in a Godly way when the timing is right. We can trust Him and His timing.  

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 NIV


by Grace Hunter

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The Waiting Game2024-05-17T09:47:42-06:00

What is the Gospel?

Each of us have shared a personal story in the last week of how the gospel has impacted us personally. We have also shared about circumstances in our lives when doubts about God’s goodness or His timing have impacted our own personal stories and spiritual lives and growth.

So, what is the gospel? Paul tells us, “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me [Paul] also, as to one abnormally born.”   I Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV. Any presentation of the gospel to anyone must include these four elements: Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and the testimony from witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection that Paul shared succinctly with the Corinthian church. But there are other scriptures in the Bible that make these concepts clearer. 

Paul wrote the book of Romans as well, and it has many verses that articulate what the good news that Jesus brought means to us — Jesus’ death on the cross provided a way for us to come into a right relationship with God.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

 

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished; Romans 3:22-25 NIV

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 NIV

 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:8-11 NIV 

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV

 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 NIV.


Just as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a personal interaction with the risen Christ, each of us who are believers have as well. With each of our stories we have shared, it is this personal interaction with the risen Christ; our personal relationship is what makes all the difference in our lives and in the life of every believer in Jesus. 

 

by Grace Hunter

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What is the Gospel?2024-05-11T11:11:32-06:00

God Is God and I Am Not

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
        and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Romans 9:14-16 NIV



Have you ever had doubts about God’s goodness? Have you ever wondered why God allowed something to happen in your life or in the life of a loved one? When we have these kinds of questions or doubts, what do we do with them? Ignore them?

Let me give a little background. On June 13, 1998, our youngest son Joshua was born via an emergency C-section because his heart rate dropped, and he was in distress. His lack of oxygen during birth caused a severe brain injury called cerebral palsy. This was a defining moment in our marriage and family; nothing has ever been the same since. Both my husband and I had our faith in God shaken because of having an extremely needy special needs child, in addition to our
5-year-old and 3 ½ year old twins who were already a part of our family.

Both my husband and I dealt with questions of: why did God allow this? Why doesn’t God heal him? Is God good? Because of our young family, and our son who had constant medical needs, we processed our grief over the birth of our son over the course of many years. We also met with some more mature Christians who helped us work through our questions and doubts. It took time, but eventually we came to a place where we could give our questions to God, leave them there, and trust in Him that He had a purpose for us, for our family, and for our son exactly as he was. Many of our questions won’t be answered on this side of heaven, just as Job’s questions were not answered. He said during his grief, But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? …”The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Job 28:12, 28b.

Job talked to God; as did Jeremiah. He tells us, “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.” Lamentations 2:19. Doubts, grief, questions are all a part of a Christian’s life. One of the messages I value in the book of Job and in Lamentations is that God welcomes our honesty. He wants us to come to Him with all of it. Job and Jeremiah both knew God — that God is God, and I am not. God is the source of wisdom, mercy, and love, even amid difficult and grieving circumstances. My husband and I came to the same conclusion. Take some time to read this story in John 9:1-41. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you as you read. Look for God’s compassion, notice the difficult circumstances and who recognizes God working. Thank God for His mercy and compassion.


by Grace Hunter

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God Is God and I Am Not2024-05-04T11:03:09-06:00

The Resurrected Jesus Makes All the Difference

by Grace Hunter

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” I Corinthians 15:1-8 NIV


In I Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul gave a succinct description of the gospel and listed many of the people who saw the Resurrected Jesus. Paul also mentioned that many of these witnesses were still living at the time Paul wrote the letter of I Corinthians. These witnesses could be contacted and interviewed by the Corinthians and other fellow Christ followers of the time. Let’s take a closer look at James, the brother of Jesus, considering our topic of doubt and faith.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, his brothers accompany Jesus’ mother Mary to the home where Jesus was currently ministering. “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind,’” Mark 3:20-21 NIV. Jesus’ family did not understand at this time who He was nor what His ministry was about. Jesus’ siblings certainly had doubts about Jesus.

Jesus’ brothers and sisters are mentioned by name in both Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. In both lists, James is listed first and thus is assumed to be the oldest of Jesus’ siblings. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, before the crucifixion, Jesus’ siblings are not listed as being a part of Jesus inner circle, or even a part of the greater group of Jesus’ disciples.

We can only assume from this that James had doubts about Jesus being the Messiah, the Savior of the Jews. However, take a close look at Acts 12:11-17,
Acts 15:13-21, and Acts 21:18. An incredible transformation had occurred. Now, after Pentecost, James was a leader of the church in Jerusalem. Clearly, Paul also considered him a leader of the church at large.

What changed? Paul tells us that the resurrected Jesus appeared to James. This made the difference. Just as it does with us. When we bring our doubts to the resurrected Jesus, it makes all the difference for us as well.

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The Resurrected Jesus Makes All the Difference2024-04-21T21:24:54-06:00

Naomi’s Doubts

by Grace Hunter


Have you ever had a time in your life when you doubted God’s goodness? When circumstances or situations seemed to conspire against you in such a way that you could not possibly see a way out, or any way that a good outcome could result?

Naomi certainly found herself in this situation in the first chapter of the book of Ruth. She had been living in a foreign country. They had moved to Moab
because there was no food in Bethlehem, their home. First her husband died, then her two sons as well,  leaving Naomi with no means of financial support.
She had two young foreign daughters-in-law, no grandchildren and didn’t even want to be called by her name.
Naomi means “pleasant”, but she asked to be called Mara, which means “bitter” -– a fitting description of her current emotional state.  “It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has gone out against me”, Ruth 1:13b NIV.

Naomi said, “I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me”, Ruth 1:21 NIV. Did you see it? She was doubting God’s goodness in her life. Grief can do that. It can block our ability to see God and His goodness. Naomi doubted she would ever be full again. She doubted she would ever want to be called Naomi again, as she could not see – in the midst of her grief – that anything could be pleasant again.

However, Naomi and Ruth went back to Bethlehem  (which means “house of food”). “So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess,
her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning”, Ruth 1:22 NIV. Naomi returned to her homeland, to a place where her relatives lived, to the land of her God. The timing of their return provided an opportunity for Ruth to work, first gleaning the barley harvest and then gleaning the wheat harvest. Naomi began to see the kindness of Boaz and had hope that he could provide for the two women in a more permanent way. Chapter 4 shows how Boaz agreed to be their kinsman-redeemer; he then married Ruth as well. After the couple had a son, the women of Bethlehem said to Naomi, “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth. Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David”, Ruth 4:14b-17 NIV.

Naomi, who could not see the goodness of God in her circumstances detailed in chapter 1 of Ruth, was full again in chapter 4. She had a family again, a grandson, and a home. What do we do with our doubts? Do we return to the God who can provide?  Do we go to our God with them? Do we search His word for answers?     

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Naomi’s Doubts2024-04-07T12:32:16-06:00

Dark = Fear + Grief Light = Presence + Freedom

by Grace Hunter

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. John 1:4-9 NIV

But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). John 20:11-16 NIV

  

John introduces several of his themes in the first 20 verses in the book of John. In John 1:4-9, He introduces Jesus as the light of the world, one of his main themes. Alex spoke on light this week and he used John 20:1-19 as his text. Mary Magdalene was grieving because Jesus — her light, her savior, her healer —
was crucified on Friday. Now, early on Sunday she couldn’t even find his body. John tells us she went to the grave early, when it was still dark. It can be difficult to sleep when grief is new and fresh. Perhaps she did not sleep well and that is why she went to the grave before dawn on Sunday morning.

Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Lord but did not recognize Him. She talked with Him but didn’t know who He was. Grief, darkness, fear can do the same thing — it can block our ability to see, hear, and feel the presence of God. Imagine a young child in the dark — it can be scary to children. But if a father or mother is there in the dark with the child, then fear probably is removed; the presence of the adult takes fear away.

When we are grieving in a difficult circumstance, in a dark place, we also can be consumed by fear: we can feel hopeless, we can be consumed by dark thoughts. The resurrection had occurred, but Mary Magdalene could not perceive it or access it when she did not recognize Jesus’ presence. Have you experienced this? David certainly did. Let’s look at Psalm 18.

I love you, O LORD, my strength.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the LORD ;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:1-6 NIV

David describes a dark, fearful episode in his life. He is overwhelmed, scared, perhaps alone. But he brings it to God, he asks for God’s help Who provides refuge and deliverance for David. God is David’s refuge and safe place — just as a parent can be for a child in the dark. The Psalm continues to describe difficult circumstances and many ways that God enabled David to stand, fight and endure. Has God done this for you at a difficult place in your life? If you are there now, perhaps pray Psalm 18. Ask for God to make His presence known to you in a way you can feel it, know it and experience it, as David did. Be encouraged;
once Mary heard her name spoken by the risen Jesus, she knew she was in the presence of her Lord, and it made all the difference. God’s presence with you in your circumstances can make the difference for you too. 

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Dark = Fear + Grief Light = Presence + Freedom2024-04-07T22:34:57-06:00

Fishing Jesus’ Way

by Grace Hunter

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. John 21:1-6 NIV 

We are going to use our imaginations this week in our devotionals. Let’s picture this scene, Peter along with Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two more of Jesus’ disciples are near the Sea of Galilee at night. It has been some time; we don’t know how long, perhaps a week or two since His resurrection, that they have seen Jesus.

Peter decides, “I’m going out to fish”, John 21:3. Peter murmurs to himself, “I know how to fish, I’m going to do something, I’m going to do something to earn money or to get some food, I’m tired of waiting. I’m a man who needs to be doing something, not waiting for something to happen. I’m going fishing.” All the others decide to go with him, get into one boat, row out to the deep part of the Sea of Galilee, fish all night long, but manage not to catch anything –- not even one little fish. Peter and everyone in the boat are disappointed. Peter, James and John, fisherman, think to themselves, “We know how to do this; we did this for our living before we knew Jesus. We don’t know where he is right now and we don’t understand: Why can’t we catch anything? We did everything we know how to do, but we can’t find any fish tonight.”

Early in the morning, the sun is just starting to come over the horizon. As the men row their boat to shore, they see a man standing on shore, but they cannot see him clearly. “He [calls] out to them. ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No’ they answered”, John 21:5, NIV.

The man called to Peter and the others in the boat, “friends”. None of them recognized him. But then he gives them an interesting direction to follow. “He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some’”,  John 21:6a.

Peter harkening back to a previous encounter: “I remember the last time this happened, Jesus, a man from Nazareth, a carpenter – not a fisherman – told us to put our net over into the water after another long disappointing night of fishing. Last time, we had so many fish in our net that it started to break. Ok, I’m game, we will put the net on the right side of the boat and see what happens.”

“When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish”,  John 21:6b, NIV. The others as well as Peter remembered the other time a man told them to fish in an unusual way. Each one is thinking, “the man on the shore must be Jesus”.  He called them friends. Jesus had called them “friends” right before he was arrested. Could it be? Hope is rising in each person’s heart. Jesus is on the shore!

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:12-17 NIV

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Fishing Jesus’ Way2024-03-31T17:03:49-06:00
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