Jesus talked about the net cast into the sea and open to every kind of fish.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” – Matthew 13:47-48
He likens the net to the Kingdom of heaven which is open to every body on earth, irrespective of their nationality, tribe, tongue, sex or race. A Kingdom to which many are called but few are chosen.
The rejected fishes were good and edible but not to specification.
He likens the chosen fish to the believer who meets a certain standard.
This believer has a rich store of knowledge, is able to seat down and by maturity and use of his senses, separates the old teachings from the new.
These are teachers.
A teacher is a matured person in the Kingdom, not a neophite.
Paul said matured believers ought to be teachers through word and character.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for He is a babe.”- Hebrew 5:12-13
“…… a babe”, not matured!
It takes maturity which comes by experiencing or tasting the Word of God to discern between good and evil.
Our heart is like a net that grabs all forms of teachings; good and bad, edifying teachings and destructive teachings.
Our heart is like that tree of knowledge capable of good and evil which God asked man to stay away from.
The heart indeed is not so smart!
Experience, maturity, calls for us to sit down and sort out the old teachings that served in their time from the new and better teachings which came by divine revelation: a message of the hour, of now, of Faith.
For example, Jesus said He chose us to bear fruit and if our fruit remain we shall ask anything of the Father in His Name and He may give it to us. We have been told concerning this that fruit bearing refers to the souls we win! No!
This is a distraction from the real fruit! And it is a major contribution to the moral decay in church! No single one of us has the power to keep a soul! God will not hold us responsible for souls that did not remain! Every soul must answer, and be responsible for itself. True, we should encourage one another to keeping faith in God, yet salvation is a personal race! God holds us responsible when we fail to warn them of the consequences of indulging in sin, and of ultimate judgement!
Paul could not retain all the souls he won to Christianity. Even Demas, an evangelist under Paul, could not be retained! Non of us can retain a soul.
What then is the fruit we are expected to bear?
This can be developed only through exercising the senses with the Word of God.
In Matthew 3, Jesus likens man to a tree. Isaiah agrees. ( Isaiah 61:3)
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” – Matthew 3:8-10
You are a tree!
The kind of tree you are determines the fruit you bear! We are known by our fruit, not our seed!
In Christ, God empowers us to bear fruit. But we have to initiate the process. God will not force us against our will. This is implied in Romans chapter one; if we fail to meet our initial part: “retain Him”, He would leave us to ourselves and not help us.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. – Romans 1:28
He rather “prunes” us to bring forth much fruit when our zeal, determination and trust are in Him.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” – John 15:2
We need to have the hunger ( Matthew 5:6), not a wish, but the burning desire that would drive us to exercising our senses with the Word of God and put our body under subjection to the Word.
Jesus chose you to make a difference, to make an impact in your home, your job, your business, your neighbourhood. Do the right thing whether your employer is there or not.
Be “filled with the fruits of righteousness” – Philippians 1:11
“…..abounding in fruit in every good work” – Colossians 1:10
Make an impact through your character!
In Christ, when we begin to work on our character, exercising our senses with the Word of God, He steps in to help us. There has to be a genuine interest. Not a wish, but a sincere desire. The desire that can stand the purging fire, the strain and rigours of exercise.
There is no good in man. Without God’s help we cannot bear good fruit.
Spiritual exercise is not only good for our spiritual health, it helps keep us raptureable; in shape.
If we stop exercising we go out of shape.
Moses was trained by God in the wilderness for forty years. A mighty man in word, an orator ( Acts 7:22). He became a stammerer because of training. Deposits of Egypt: pride, self, arrogance, and all, were burnt out of him. He bore the fruit of being the meekest man on earth.
But he lost it when he stopped exercising. When you start don’t stop!
The process of purging is a very painful process. Even trees cry out when cut!
Jesus learnt obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8). He was hundred percent God and hundred percent man, meaning He felt pain like you and I. What He went through in training helped form His character. Though God’s son, He had to go through it Himself.
So let’s go to the gym of the Spirit and exercise; “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Work out and keep working out your salvation!
We are on a journey.
Passing towns and villages, hills and valleys. In the same way we move, constantly moving from days to weeks, to months and years; moving from age to age, changing even facially as we journey in life.
We carry luggage on our journey; some light, some heavy. Most of these slow us down spiritually.
Even oceanliners and aircrafts have weight limits, and are dutifully monitored for peak performance.
For a faster and secure ride in 2016, we need to shed some load; everything that constitute sin in our lives: lying, hatred, envy, jealousy, unforgiveness, stealing, formication and adultery, etc. These are great loads of hindrance in that slowed and impeded our progress in 2015.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
Jesus calls us to give Him our load, and in turn He will give us much better days.
“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. – Haggai 2:9
2016 shall be by far a much better year than 2015. It is a year of exploits for as many that will be totally committed to Him.
(1 ) Uproot fear – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7
You need to uproot, reject and cast out fear. Fear gives birth to failure.
(2) Learn to trust Him.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because He trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3
Whoever must travel with God in 2016 must, through thick and thin, believe that what He has promised, He is more than able to deliver.
This does not come easy! Trust is built, and this, by time and patience. The enemy, as in the garden of Eden, will come planting doubt and unbelief. He may create delay as with the angel sent to Daniel.
You just have to hold on to His word, for faithful is He that promised. He said through Habakkuk that no matter the delay it shall surely come!
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:3
Believe, and not waver between two opinions. And the peace of God that passes all understanding shall guard your heart in Jesus mighty Name. Amen.
Welcome to 2016!
“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” – Romans 11:36 (NIV)
The Christian life is not an easy one especially with the enemy, the devil, telling us God has abandoned us. And that we cannot achieve whatsoever we have planned.
We need to realize that God has not abandoned us, and that yes, we cannot of our own do anything. He keeps His promises forever. One of which is that He would never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)
By His presence, He gives us the power to do what He wants to do. The ability to do a good thing or achieve anything does not reside in us but in Him! He manifests this power in and through us. He gives strength to the weak; empowering us by His Spirit to do all things. We are His instruments, His weapons of war.
“Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” – Jeremiah 51:20
He is the one doing the work, we are only instruments! The plan of what to do, the power to do the work and the wisdom of how best to do the work are His! We should like weapons in our hands, respond to His leading and do all things HIS WAY! We should follow His leading, His method.
True, Adam named and defined all of creation, but God was there, interested and perhaps communicating!
Moses was asked to build to specification. Crazy, old King Saul did not and was rejected. Ezekiel made dry bones come to life! He followed God’s method. Barnabas and Paul went on missionary work. They followed God’s Way.
Success, in every endeavour, is doing things God’s way.
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [KJV] Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27
There is something awesomely good about following the Master! Receiving instructions from and following the Master can be so much fun and rewarding. However it can also stir up much pain and agony! But if one learns to faithfully follow those instructions, the heat of the pain and agony would eventually be soothed out and changed to joy.
The scripture above tells of Jesus entering a boat, followed by His disciples. He took the initiative, the lead, and His disciples followed. The idea of what to do and where to go were His. A lot of pain and anguish many go through today are the result of trying to lead the Lord; thinking up the thing to do and asking God to come along! Of Him (originating from Him) and through Him (His Way and method) and to Him (surrendered to Him and His plans) are all things.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” – Romans 11:36
All things: thought, word and deed should originate from Him; that is when, and the only time when His peace that passes all understanding is shed into our hearts.
Jesus was in the boat with His disciples, yet a “great tempest” rose against them!
Walking with and obeying the Lord’s instructions does not make us immune to trials! Rather, it opens us up to trials! The Lord may be mighty in your life, your job, business, ministry, home and marriage, yet storms arise!
Translated from “seismos”, the Greek word as used in Matthew 24:7 and Matthew 27:54 which means earthquake, this was not an ordinary storm, but an EARTHQUAKE! A sudden, violent movement of the earth’s surface; this, under the sea.
Some of you maybe experiencing earthquakes in your lives: a job moving normally, a business making waves, a Ministry touching lives, a marriage full of fun and promise, a normal healthy life. Then all of a sudden, unexpectedly and without warning, a violent change comes; a severe attack, an EARTHQUAKE that comes with such great force that leaves you despairing for life and possibly asking for death!
“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” – 2Corinthians 1:8-9
Even with Jesus in the boat!
These fishermen who had spent all their lives at sea became helpless. Their knowledge, experience and abilities had failed them! Their peace was gone! Indeed no man should trust in his knowledge, experience, education or connection, “for by strength shall no man prevail!”
Despite the earthquake you may experiencing now, God wants you to have peace! Even in the midst of turmoil, strife and trial, with every ground breaking up around you and falling apart, God wants you to know that He has you covered; you are secure. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right, no harm can come on you! (Psalm 91:7)
The disciples were worried, afraid and not at peace because of the Earthquake, and Jesus rebuked them as faithless! Imagine being in a summersaulting vehicle and with no seat-belt, and for crying out in panic, God rebukes you!
What does He expect you to do?
Ignore the storm! Jesus ignored it! That was why He rebuked them.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” – Matthew 8:26
He was disappointed that they were afraid and woke Him up. Why was He disappointed?
They did not ignore the storm!
He had told them how much they mean to God and how much God cares for them. (Matthew 6:25-34.) They were not to worry! Satan cannot do anything to you except God allows him. That was why Jesus could sleep in the boat! But obviously, the disciples did not learn it; they lived in fear and worry.
Whereas the Word of God tells us not to fret because of evil doers (Proverbs 24:19)
Thankfully, they began to practice, for over ten years later Peter faced a situation that threatened his life. He had learned and exercised himself to be at peace with his everyday situations, no matter the environment.
In Acts 12:1-5, with just a few hours to be beheaded, he did not rehearse his fate, or try to figure where he went wrong. Rather he slept soundly, peacefully in the midst of a “quarternium” of soldiers (16 soldiers).
Now he knew. There was a knowing now, that we are hidden in Christ where no devil or harm can come. They can raise every kind of storm but cannot touch a child of God that knows the power of God that works in him!
“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b
Knowledge is powerful, it delivers!
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32
It takes knowledge of the Word of God, to be free or delivered from worry. Peter knowing the Word of God and having an understanding of same through practice, was able to put his trust in Him who gave that Word. And as trust begets peace, he was filled with peace and was able to sleep!
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3
Trust comes by knowledge, and knowledge does not come cheap! It does not come overnight, but with time, patience and consistency.
It took Peter over ten years of practice, over ten years of “tasting” the Lord, before knowing He is good.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” – Psalm 34:8
To taste means to get involved, to experience, which sometimes, come with a high price.
Learn to leave some things alone. After you have huffed and puffed, leave everything in the hands of the Lord and go to sleep. Allow peace into your heart kknowing that God is working all things to your favour!
No matter the limitations the enemy places against you or around you God can bring you out and take you beyond. Peter, in Acts chapter 12, was surrounded by four soldiers in four shifts totaling sixteen. Two watched at the cells door and the other two were chained to him. Herod was not taking any chances especially after hearing of his miraculous or should we say his mysterious escape from custody in Acts 5:17 – 23. The security was tight. But he could not be imprisoned! Neither can you be imprisoned!
No rescue team, no last minute legal appeals, no behind the scene bribery. Nothing! It was an impossible situation! All around you there may be obstacles, human and demonic, threatening to stop or limit you, with no hope or help in sight. Love ones may have abandoned you, those you helped in the past rather than help, turn out to be the source of the afflictions and they rejoice over your helpless and impossible situation.
But with God all things are possible! Peter knew this and was at peace! No anxiety, no fear, no worry! He slept between two soldiers (Verse 6). An anxious person cannot sleep. Peter wasn’t! Don’t allow the enemy take your joy or your sleep. Be at peace with God. Peter trusted God with his life. Whether it be death or life, he trusted! Trust God.
Your faith is your pillow in the days of storm and trial. God’s wise and good thought for you cannot manifest until you trust Him. Your trust in Him brings you Peace, for He will always speake peace to those that trust in Him.
People prayed for Peter. Jesus is presently praying for you. People you do not know are also praying for you. The 7000 prophets couldn’t have been eating and drinking. They may also have prayed for Elijah’s success at Camel. At the darkest hour of your life, God will shine His light! He has never forsaken His own, and you will not be an exception. Faithful is He. There is no door or gate that God cannot open! There is no lock that He cannot pick! There is no combination He cannot break!
Be it your job, your marriage, ministry, spiritual life, social life, finance, everything about you. God can deliver you! You can’t be caged!