I am actually looking out over the ocean from our balcony right now. My sweet husband took me to the beach for the weekend to celebrate our five year anniversary this past spring. And my sweet mother-in-law (and Mamaw, Pops, and Papa) are watching the kiddos . John David and Papaw might be playing solitaire on the computer right now while I am typing!!
For those of you who know me well, know that I love to walk on the beach. I grab some music and headphones and head out to walk with my Lord. And I enjoy watching people looking for shells, swimming in the waves, or lying out in the sun- just enjoying the beach . I can’t help but to be reminded of the goodness of our God. Although so many laugh and accuse Him, He still allows them to enjoy this place called earth- the works of His very hands. The man basking in the sun, the couple jumping the waves- no matter where they stand with Christ, still finds themselves in some type of grace in this present world. I am reminded of His love filled attitude towards the people He stood in front of before he was crucified. And then the words of Christ on the cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Can’t you hear the love in those words? Grace. Grace is all around us here on this earth. I once heard the statement, “Either this present earth is as close to hell you will ever get or its as close to heaven as you will ever get.” Praise the Lord, He is calling people out, clothing them with His righteousness and preparing a place for them. Grace.
As I was walking today, I kept coming across pieces of sand dollars. It was amazing how many of these pieces I saw. Maybe I just overlooked them before in my pursuit of trying to find something else. I picked up as many as I could, but soon I couldn’t hold them all. I was sweetly reminded of Christ coming for the broken. How He walked the sands of this life looking for the broken. Remember the story of the fishermen who had come back in from a day of fishing without any catches? Jesus spoke to Simon and told them, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets [again] for a catch." This story brings joy to my heart this afternoon. A teacher of mine has reminded me, “What God initiates, He anoints.” When Christ tells you to “drop the nets” and you do it where He said, he provides the fish. Remember how the story goes? It’s in Luke 5. Simon tells Jesus that they have been toiling all night and have caught no fish, but that he will do what He says (I can almost hear myself in his response, “Lord, seriously I have already done that).But, they go out and drop their nets. After their obedience, their nets begin to break…there is an overload of fish. (I think the miracle occurring after their obedience is a very important to note, since some blessings are very much a direct result of our obedience- check out James 1:25. ) The fish begin to overflow and they shout for a second boat to help. Soon both boats begin to sink with the enormousness of the catch- Simon falls to Jesus’ knees, realizing who he is and who He is in front of him. Jesus responds, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." I wonder if sometimes we go out looking for something specific- we walk and we are looking (perhaps even toiling), but we catch no fish. But like in the story, can’t you hear God telling us to drop our nets again. Don’t you think we should obey Him? Just maybe when we do, our response will be something like Simon’s. I wonder too- if He is reminding us to look for the broken. If we are to be fishers of men, it might be smart to follow the Master Fisherman. So- where do we see Jesus dropping His nets? Among the needy. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" – Jesus words in Mark 2. In Luke 4 we see Jesus opening up the book of Isaiah and finding the place where he wanted to read. What did he read? He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He appointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery for the blind, to release the oppressed...” (Luke 4:18, where Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61:1). We sing songs and pray prayers for the Lord to come and meet with us. I wonder what would happen if we would really listen... if He is telling us instead to “go” be with Him? Why don’t we listen, watch, and then go out and meet Him? But where is He? He must be with the broken and the weak- the needy. And who knows, maybe that’s your neighbor. Even your rich neighbor. Maybe that’s the lady in the line behind you. Just maybe it’s the kids in that neighborhood on the other side of town. Maybe it’s the person in your own house. Maybe the man you pass everyday on the way to work. Or maybe the older widow in that house you keep thinking about it. Do you hear his whisper, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." Where’s your deep?
Ephesians 2:14-16 (MSG) “He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance…Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace and that was the end of the hostility.”
Matthew 9:36 “When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”