What IF …

When was the last time you looked back a situation and said, “What if… ?”

From the time we’re very young we start having ‘regrets’. We start thinking what if I had not said that. What if I had not done that. What if I had chosen something different. Regret is one of the most common, negative feelings human beings experience.

Everyone has regrets!  Psalm 51 is a prayer about David’s regret over adultery and murder.  And what about Peter?  When he realized what he had done he went away and wept bitterly, Luke 22:61-62. (Can you even imagine what Jesus’ long glance did to him?)

The good thing about having regret is it shows we’re paying attention to our shortcomings, yes, even our sins.  It’s knowing that something went wrong, something’s not right.  Thinking what could I have done instead of what I did prepares us for the next time the situation occurs.

But then…  Get rid of it!  Take it to the cross and leave it there.  Quit mulling over it and over it and over it…  (satan loves that because it takes our focus off Jesus).  Pray David’s prayer:

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

(Click on the picture above to hear Keith Green’s beautiful rendition of this prayer.)

I’m joining many others at 5-Minute Friday.  Join us there!

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Me

fisherman

Peter was with Jesus from the beginning to the end…yes, we know that.  Did you know that his beginning started with “Follow Me” and ended with the same words?

When I was a child we often sang a delightful song with the words,”I Will Make You Fishers of Men”.   Even today, so many years past childhood, I can still sing the words and hear the melody in my mind.

Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee when he saw Simon Peter and his brother Andrew fishing in the lake.  He said to them, “Follow Me and we’ll fish for people.”  And so they did.  Further on down the road he came upon James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were in the boat with their father.  Jesus said the same thing to them,  “Follow Me” and they did.  That little story, in my own words, is found in Matthew 4:18-22.

Let’s travel three years into the future.  The four have followed Jesus faithfully, fully immersed in His journey.  They have watched Him closely, learned from Him, shared His words with others, been at the Cross with Him and He is about to return to the Father.  In this scene we find them once again by the side of a lake.  Jesus has cooked them breakfast and when they done eating He says to Peter, “Do you love me?”  Peter answers, “You know I love You!”  This went on two more times, each time Peter answered positively and Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep (or lambs)”.  It was very important for Peter to understand what his future was to be about, but something even more important is said at the end of this conversation.  Jesus tells him what his death will be like and then He says, “Follow Me!”  (John 12:15-19)

Why did Jesus say these words again?  He knew Peter so well and knew that he needed reminded that it’s not about him, that to follow Him, Peter would have to take himself out of the picture.  It’s the same message for us.  We are are to follow Him and forget ourselves.  From the beginning to the end of our relationship with Him it has to be all about HIM.

Heavenly Father, teach us to make this life all about You.  Teach us to put others first.  Teach us to serve those around us.  Oh, LORD, teach us!

Fishy Friends

fishermanMy dad was an avid fisherman.  As soon as the weather was warm enough to be on the lake he was there.  Of course, he taught all three of his girls the skills necessary to be fisherman.  Such things as putting our own bait on the hook, quiet conversation or no talk at all, and of course how to swim if we fell out or the boat capsized were patiently taught until we got it.  To this day all three of us still enjoy a quiet morning on the water.  In fact I can still filet and skin a fish.

Jesus was into fish too!  His first disciples were persuaded to follow Him by telling them they would become ‘fisher’s of men’.  In Matthew 4:19 we are not only told He said this but they followed immediately.  Then he walked down the road a bit and said the same thing to two more fisherman.  They followed immediately.  These four men Peter and Andrew, James and John became Jesus’ BFF’s!

Christ_feeding_the_multitudeJesus also used 5 loaves and 2 fishes to clearly show that He could and would provide for His people.  (My husband jokes that we will be served fish and chips in heaven, at the Great Banquet, because of the number of times fish is a part of the Story.)

When Jesus appeared to  the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee, before His Ascension, guess what He served?  Yep!  He was cooking fish and invited his friends to have breakfast with Him.  John 21:12-13

IchthusIn the first century church the fish symbol (Ichthus) was used by believers to identify themselves as Believers.  These friends of Jesus would ‘write’ the upper half-circle of the fish when they met someone and if that person finished the lower half-circle they were recognized as a fellow Believer.

Do you use a symbol to proclaim your belief?  Do you wear a cross?  Do you unashamedly carry your Bible?  Do people ask if you’re a Believer because of how you act or look?  Do you willingly talk about Jesus when someone notices what you’re wearing, carrying or modeling?  I take every opportunity I find to talk about my Jesus.  You can too!

Heavenly Father, shine through me.  Let others see Your love, faithfulness, joy, delight…when they see me.  Oh, Lord, let my life be totally about You!  Make it so in Jesus Name!

In The Garden

How many times is a garden pictured in the Word?   Whether it is in the Garden of Eden or the Garden of Gethsemane it seems gardens are a popular place to meet our Lord.

images

Meeting Him in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:6-7   Before God even planted the garden He put man in it.  What might be the reason for this?  I think God wanted Adam from the very start of his life to know that God is THE CREATOR.  That everything needed for life is from Him.  Look at what God did on the sixth day of creation.  He created Adam and Eve, the flora and fauna, the animals of the land, sky and sea…everything that exists He created.  Later on in Genesis we are told it was common for God to walk in the garden and commune with Adam and Eve.  Every day they could meet Him in the Garden and create a relationship with Him.  Oh, my, what they gave up for an apple.

Andrea Mantegna's Agony in the Garden, circa 1...

Andrea Mantegna’s Agony in the Garden, circa 1460, depicts Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Travel with me through several centuries to another Garden.  This time at Gethsemane (on the Mount of Olives).  The story is in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42 and Like 22:40-46.  Jesus had asked James, John and Peter to go with Him while He prayed.  What was His expectation?  I think He wanted them to support Him physically and spiritually.  Physically because He knew what was about to happen and He wanted those He loved around Him.  Spiritually because He was about to spend serious time in prayer and He wanted the support of their prayers also.  But, guess what?  Once again God (Jesus) is disappointed.  Each time He returned to them they were asleep.  He says pretty much what He said in the Garden of Eden…What are you doing/What have you done?  Oh, my, what they gave up for a nap?

hanginggardensofBabylon

These are the two most well-known gardens in the Word, but there are others.  One the Ancient Wonders of the World was the Hanging Garden of Babylon built by Nebuchadnezzar.  The entire book of the Song of Songs takes place in a garden.   I think I can safely say, God really likes gardens.

Worship Him with song:  In The Garden/There is None Like You

Abba, there is None Like You.  Let me join You in the beauty of my garden.  The day lilies, ferns, and hanging planters are just a bit of the beauty You created.  Praise You and thank You for the colors, the smells, the blooms…Grow me as You grow them, set apart, sanctified for Your purpose only.  Make it so!