Monday, February 25, 2008

Experience Builds Faith

Prayer for release from prison

Acts 12:5 (NASB) 5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
One of the "Sons of Thunder" was killed just a few days earlier and then Peter, the chief of the Apostles was arrested and placed in prison just before the Passover. I would assume this was one year after Christ had been murdered. The gospel was still costing people their lives, and it looked like the leader was once again going to die. Things seemed pretty hopeless. Or did they?

The church believed that God could rescue Peter. The church believed that God could do something about their situation. This time, not as a result of the Spirit-filled Apostles, but by the prayer of the people, a miracle took place. This wasn't the first time something like this had happened. Peter and John had been thrown in jail before and God "opened the door". So I'm sure John, who just lost his brother at the end of a sword, let the charge for people to pray for Peter's release. He had absolute confidence that God could rescue him just as he had rescued the two of them before. Experience increases faith.

Trust in the Lord today. Gain some new experience and draw from some old experience, but let faith grow and abound in your heart!

Monday, February 04, 2008

How's Your Net?

Matthew 4:21 (KJV)
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

Jesus has called us to be fishers of men. In the fishing trade of Jesus day, nets were used as the "tool of the trade" to catch fish. Peter and Andrew were "casting their net into the sea", indicating that their net was in good repair and ready for catching fish. James and John were "mending their net", indicating that something had happened that had made their net ineffective at catching fish. In another passage, we find some of the disciples "cleaning their nets" indicating they had picked up a bunch of trash along the way.

As Christians and fishers of men we need to examine our nets. Our nets are either clean and in good repair, or they are torn or cluttered. God has given us gifts and abilities that need to be utilized to their fullest potential for Him. He has also given us freedom of choice, which means I can choose to use those gifts and abilities or not. I can choose to live a holy life or not. I can choose to be a witness or not. These gifts and abilities along with my choices in how I will conduct myself are woven together into a fabric that makes up my net. It is through my life, my conduct, my words, my actions, that my net is made complete.

If I choose not to use my gifts and abilities for God's purposes, my net has a hole in it. If I choose to conduct myself in a way that is a disgrace to God rather than a tribute to Him, my net has a hole in it. If I get so busy that I don't have time to fish, my net has become cluttered.

The thing about the story of James and John that amazes me, is that they "immediately left the SHIP AND THEIR FATHER AND FOLLOWED HIM." They didn't seem to hesitate. They "sold out" of the worldly fishing business and "bought in" to being fishermen for the Father.

So, how's your net?