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Fisherman in the Sea of Galilee

In Matthew 4:17 Jesus has started his ministry on earth telling everyone that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

He then walked along the Sea of Galilee. In other places in the Bible and in history Sea of Galilee are the Sea of Tiberias, Gennesaret, and Chinnereth. this sea was source of the Jordan River. The Jordan River flowed from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. We can take a lesson from this when we recognize that the Sea of Galilee is the source. It was alive and teaming with fish and supported the communities that surrounded it. The Dead Sea however only receives water and has no outlet. It is a dead lake where nothing grows. If you take and take and take, you will be as barren as the Dead Sea.

Jesus wasn’t walking along the Dead Sea. He was walking along the Sea of Galilee and as he was walking, he comes across Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and he invites them and then the sons of Zebedee James and John to be his disciples to become “fishers of men”. He took these men and gave them a higher calling. There is no record of them wondering if they should go, whether Zebedee tried to talk James and John out of going, if Peter’s wife was worried about where the money would come from. None of these are recorded. It just says Jesus invited them and they went.

painting of Jesus Christ healing the sick

Throughout Galilee, Jesus started his preaching ministry. He went from synagogue to synagogue preaching the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven. But he did something more, he made a difference in the lives of the people around him. He healed people. He healed all kinds of diseases, but he also healed all types of torments. The word torments here is the Greek word basanos which is thought to come from the root word basia which means to walk, a pace, foot. In other words, this word basanos has to do with anything that makes us feel as though we were going to the bottom or down to the foot.

What Jesus offered and gave to the people were The promise of the Kingdom and the gifts of salvation and healing.

“Well,” you say,” that was Jesus and that was then surely that’s not for us today. God works differently today than he did back then. He uses medicine and doctors today, right?”

I’m not going to answer the question for you of whether trusting in the medical system is God’s work. That’s between you and God. What I will challenge you concerning you  though is what Jesus told his disciples:

At the end of Jesus’ ministry, John records in John 14:12 Jesus spoke to his disciples and said, “Verily verily, I say unto you. He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works shall he do because I go unto my Father.”

What I am challenging myself (and you, if you’re up to the challenge) is this: If we believe the Bible as we say we do, why don’t we do the same works and even greater works than Jesus did? Why do we let the tormenter rule over our lives. Why are we ineffective in delivering others of their diseases and oppressions? Is it God who has changed or is it perhaps that we REALLY do not believe what he says? More importantly, what can we do about it?


When I think of God’s Greatest gift to us, the first Bible passage I ever had to learned comes to mind John 3:16-17.

For God so Loved the World that he GAVE his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

Dixie-Stampede-Nativity

The first thing we need to get from these verses is that we cannot save ourselves. Despite common belief that there are many ways to God,as it says in Acts 4:12, there is no other way to salvation but through the name (authority) of Jesus Christ.

God knew that we could not save ourselves so he gave us his son because he loved us. He didn’t send his son to condemn us because we were condemned already. (John 3:18, Romans 3:23, 6:23). God sent his son because he was our only hope. God sent his son because he knew we couldn’t save ourselves. Without the redemption offered by our Lord Jesus Christ, it is as though we were in a fast moving car that has no brakes. If we can enjoy the ride while we’re moving, but in the end, the destination is disaster.

We can believe otherwise, but in the end, if we don’t accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, in the result  is still disaster.

You might say, well, this all sound great,you’re preaching at the choir, I’m already a Christian, but I have family and friends who have not accepted this. How do I convince them of this truth?

The key is in doing what Jesus did when he was here on the earth. He loved as his father did. He freely submitted to the will of his father. We need to do the same.

We’re not going to bring our homosexual friends to Christ by telling them that they are going to hell for their lifestyle. We are not going to convince doctors in abortion clinics to stop committing abortions by displaying graphic photos in front of their businesses. We are not even saving babies doing this either. We are not going to lead our children to the truth by condemning them of their clothes, tattoos or piercings. Pointing out sin does not draw anyone to Christ. Pointing out sin will only drive them away.

So what do you do? The first thing we all must do is to ask God to teach us to love others as he first loved us. During this next year, rather than reading the entire Bible, focus instead on reading the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over again for the entire year. As you read, meditate on how Jesus reacted with everyone. Write down in a journal your impressions of those interactions. Then in light of what you have read, begin to pray for your family and friends. Ask God to show you how to show his love for them through you. Then when you are around your family and friends, take a deep breath and again ask God to show you what to do. Love is the key to drawing others to Christ!

Thank you for reading this blog! Be sure to comments and tell me what you think!  Now that you’ve enjoyed this blog, check out my website and discover my other blogs and read a free chapter in my latest novel: Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues.

 


So far we have basically covered just two verses in I Corinthians. We have learned about Paul who wrote the book. We learned about the church, and we learned about Corinth. Today we are going to discuss the Bible’s central person–Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:4-9

4) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you  by Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ gave us God’s Grace when he died on the cross.

5) That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge;

Paul told the Corinthians that he wanted them to be enriched by Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus Christ is the source. The term “all utterance” in the Greek is logos–the spoken word of God.. (Another Greek term for utterance apophtheggomal is used in Acts 2:4 on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God came down with tongues of fire, and the worshipers in the upper room spoke in other tongues. This term here therefore is not referring to that kind of utterance.) What this word “utterance” refers to is the idea that God will speak to you in very real terms and as the next phrase states, he will give you all the knowledge you need to make decisions that he approves.Our knowledge comes from Jesus Christ. I remember the first time I  the Bible through.  I didn’t really understand what I was reading, but on each subsequent time I have read it, the Lord speaks his secrets to me. I encourage people to read the Bible all the way through as often as possible. Like me, you may not get much out of your first reading of the Bible, but you will gain insights into how the word relates to you with each subsequent reading. A lot of people get bogged down in Bible reading because they begin in Genesis and read from there. I suggest that you begin in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first four books of the New Testament in which they write about Jesus’ life here on earth from four different perspectives. There are parts of it you won’t understand and that is okay. (I don’t understand all of it either.) Don’t just read it through once and call it quits, instead, read it numerous times. Each time you will discover something new and relevant to your current situation. Focus on how Jesus thinks. This will help you know whether you are hearing him in your every day activities.

6) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you

As you read through the Gospels you will discover an amazing thing happening. The things you read about concerning Jesus will have direct bearing on what is going on in your own life. Questions you had yesterday, he answers today out of his written word. The word testimony is maturion (Strong’s 3140) which means evidence, in other words, you will witness the truth in your own situation. His testimony will be backed up by events in your own life.

7) So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This verse tells us that Paul wanted the Corinthian church to have the testimony of Christ so that they wouldn’t miss out on the gifts that Christ’s testimony had to offer. He also says that part of those gifts will come at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The same is true for us. Jesus is returning and he has presents for us! It will be better than Christmas! (The celebration of the gift of himself his first time on earth.)

8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word “confirm” here is the Greek word bebaloo  (Strong’s 950) which means stands firm. Jesus will stand firm that we are held blameless because we have accepted his provision for salvation.  As it says in  Romans 8:30-32 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? And in Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Isn’t this cool, Jesus is willing to blot out anything that is held against us. Jesus is on our side!

9) God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Just like the Corinthians, you are called into fellowship (friendship) with Jesus Christ, the son of God. You are called, he wants you to have fellowship with him. He wants to be your friend. He isn’t looking for ways to trap you into hell (no fine print!)  Are you ready to accept his call?

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