Saturday, September 14, 2013

I am afraid I'm not enough.

The men of the Old Testament responded as Peter did. "I am unworthy." "I am of unclean lips." And God agreed for he purged the sin with coal or had them remove their shoes as they walked on holy ground. But when Jesus came things changed, only Peter didn't know this yet.

Jesus came to make us worthy to be with God. Through Him we are redeemed. And yet so very often those of us who are redeemed think we aren't worthy. We think others aren't worthy to become redeemed as well. We create hoops to jump through, and set a standard high towards perfection which must be met before we can come to Christ. It starts out well and good sometimes, with the purest of intentions, and it gets changed somewhere into expectations. It starts out love for God and turns into hate for his people.

I was reminded of the story of the prodigal son this morning. How the Father ran to the son as he returned. Most times when we imagine this scene we go back to pictures from our childhood sunday school days. A young man walking towards his father, and the father embracing this clean cut boy and welcoming him back into the family. But when you consider everything the boy had been through and where he had been, I can assure you he didn't look so clean. He lived with the pigs. He ate their slop. He did not have a place or time to get cleaned up, unless it was in a river between town and home. He would have had to put the same clothes on which were stained with mud, pig feces, and the food they ate. His hair was not neat and trimmed, even if he had been able to get water through it. This was a dirty filthy boy wearing the remnants of what he had done and been through who returned back to the home of his father. And the father embraced him all the same. He put the cloak on top of the filth, and the sandals on his dirty feet, as he walked him the rest of the way home.

God does the same with us. Jesus showed us this story to remind us that we will make mistakes, we will do wrong things, and we will mess things up royally but God still waits for us.

Sometimes I'm afraid from the past mistakes I have done. Sometimes I'm afraid because of the ways I didn't step up as I should. Sometimes I worry about how I present myself and if it is acceptable to others. I am often afraid I'm not what I need to be, I haven't done enough, and I have messed up just one too many times for God to use me.

"How can you use me for your righteous works when I am so unclean?"
It is His righteousness which we are given and it is Him who works through us. We just have to be willing and present. Let's stop thinking we aren't enough, for we are just as we should be to be used by Him.

The fear we are unworthy

Luke 5:10
Then Jesus said to Simon,
“Don’t be afraid;
from now on you will catch men.”

What was Simon Peter astonished by? What did Jesus tell him not to be afraid about? The scriptures say he was astonished by the catch. Imagine, a catch so large that the fishermen who hauled it in knew it was an extraordinary event. They had spent many a year on the water bringing in fish. They had spent the night prior trying to catch something and brought in nothing. They knew what a normal catch looked like, and better yet they knew what a lucky catch looked like. This was beyond those expectations and beyond anything they had ever seen. Jesus gave them something they would understand to help them know how extraordinary He was.

I think Peter was afraid of the situation. I think it was so big that he didn’t quite know what to do. He knew this was no ordinary teacher, for look how he controlled the catch. And so, as many of the prophets of old did, Peter told Jesus to go away from Him for he was full of sin and not worthy to be near Jesus.

Jesus did not agree with Peter at this point. He did not tell him how he needed to straighten up and act right. He did not tell him to go ceremonially wash himself so that he could be in Jesus’ presence. No, Jesus instead told him not to be afraid. Then he told Peter he would catch men from now on rather than fish.

What amazed me here was Peter and his partners, John and James, did not argue with Jesus any more. They did not continue to say how unworthy they were to go with Jesus and do as He asked. Neither did they stay to take care of their boats, nets, or the haul of fish they had just brought in. They left it all and followed Jesus from that point on.

Does this mean we should leave our family, business, and any fortune Jesus brings us and walk away from it all? Not unless Jesus calls you to that specifically. No, what we can learn from this is when Jesus says we are not to be afraid to be in His presence we shouldn’t be, and when he calls us to something we should do it.

Question 1: Do you ever feel unworthy to be used by God? Do you ever feel you simply can’t live up to some imagined expectations you have in your mind? Understand that those expectations do not come from God and are only holding you back from an amazing relationship with Him.

Question 2: Has God called you to do something but you are still arguing with Him about not being ready to do it? Maybe it’s time to simply move forward leaving behind what you think needs to be done first.

Dear Father
Sometimes our fear gets the better of us
Sometimes we set up a list of things we need to do first
To procrastinate?
To push off what we know to do?
Only you know Lord
You know our hearts
You know our lives
You know what you want from us
Help us as we accept your call

Friday, September 13, 2013

Peter's Fear

Peter was tired. They had worked all night to no avail and were ready to get home as soon as they finished washing their nets. He was thinking about his wife waiting for him there when he saw the crowd. The rabbi asked to enter into his boat to teach the crowd from the water. What else could Peter do but agree?

Peter sat and listened to the teacher speak, but so did his partners from the shore. The entire crowd sat and listened as this man spoke. It wasn’t long before the rabbi turned toward him and Peter knew the teaching had come to a close. He simply didn’t expect the next request.

Peter caught his partner’s eye as he threw the now clean nets over the side of the boat. They had been out all night; not one fish. He didn’t know what to expect, but the rabbi had asked him to do it. Let the results rest on this man. Suddenly Peter recognized the all too familiar not seen enough tug on the nets as fish began to be caught. Peter was amazed as they began to pull the nets up and they began to break from the overload. This time he yelled at his partners to come and help. They had been out all night as well with nothing to show for it, they should take part in this haul and share in the bounty. All the fishermen were amazed as the number of fish continued to grow until both boats were so full they began to sink. Peter knew this was not a fluke, but rather the teacher had done this. No, not teacher: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

Peter and his partners pulled their boats in, left the fish where it was, the nets unclean, and the boats on the shore as they turned and followed Jesus.

luke 5 10

Luke 5:10

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." (NIV)
And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” (NASB)
Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on your work will be to bring in people, not fish!” (ERV)
Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” (The Message)

astonished - thambos (amazement, astonishment, wonder) and paricho (to seize, encircle; to contain; to say)

Matthew Henry - 
-Peter having attended upon Christ in his preaching, Chris will accompany him in his fishing. Those that will be a constant follower of Christ shall have him a constant guide to them.
-  They understood it better than others did. They that were well acquainted with this sea, and it is probably had plied upon it many years, had never seen such a draught of fishes fetched out of it.... therefore could not be tempted to diminish it.
- Not that he feared the weight of the fish would sink him because he was a sinful man, but that he thought himself unworthy of the favour of Chris's presence in his boat.
- Even the best men are sinful and should be ready on all occasions to own it.

John Gill -
- do not be afraid of me, I shall do thee no harm, nor shall the boars sink, or any damage come to any person, or to the vessels, not be so much amazed and affrighted, at the multitude of the fish taken
- thou shalt cast the net of the Gospel, and be the happy instrument of drawing many persons out of the depths of sin and misery, in which they are plunged, into the way of life and salvation' and which was greatly verified, in the conversion of three thousand at one cast, under one sermon of his

Arland Hultgren -
- It is a common biblical motif for a person to feel unworthy in the presence of the divine.
- God often becomes manifest in the ordinary, even seemingly unnecessary events of a person's life.

everydayenglish.com -
- Simon called Jesus Lord, suggestion that Jesus had the right to tell him what to do
- Jesus told them that they had worked to catch fish. Now they must catch people for him. They had worked to kill fish. Now they must work to give people spiritual life.

bible.ord/ Bob Deffinbaugh -
- The story of the great catch is more than just the account of a great catch, for in the final analysis, it is not the fish that are "hooked" but the fishermen.

Clarke -
- Thou shalt catch men alive; this is the proper signification of the word. Fear not: these discoveries of God tend to life, not to death; and ye shall become the instruments of life and salvation to a lost world.