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Tag Archives: fishing

Going Back to Your Former Way of Life

Following Jesus’ death and Judas’ suicide, half of the disciples began to contemplate what to do with the rest of their lives.  Apparently, Peter already made up his mind, deciding to go back to his former trade as a fishermen.  Based upon the passage below, it didn’t take much to convince several others, spending a night on the Sea of Galilee.  This short passage highlights what happens when people lose faith.  In many cases, the spiritually lost return to their old ways, to their former life before Christ.

Simon Peter, and Thomas who is called Didymus (the twin), and Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, as well as [John and James] the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing, John 21:2-3.

After a failed night at sea, these six men were dejected, striking out every where they went.  Desperate for redemption, these disciples take advice from a man standing on the shore.  As soon as their nets caught a large school of fish, John put two and two together, recognizing the man on shore as Jesus in resurrected form.  In the greatest fishing story within the Bible, the disciples hauled in 153 fish.  Like grilling on your own deck, Jesus set up a charcoal fire, starting to cook these fish as they were brought to shore.

So when they got out on the beach, they saw a charcoal fire set up and fish on it cooking, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three [of them]; and although there were so many, the net was not torn, John 21:9-11.

The term charcoal fire appears only twice in the Bible.  The first mention occurs just before Peter denies Jesus a third time, warming his hands over a charcoal fire during a cold night.  Perhaps, Jesus choses this form of fire to remind Peter of his past transgression.  During a private meeting in John 21:15-17, Jesus asks Peter if he loves the him three times, reminiscent of Peter’s public denial.  Between the smell of the charcoal fire and these three questions, Jesus is sending a message to Peter. “Why did you revert to your former way of life?  Look at me; I’ve risen from the dead.  Are you ready to get back into the game; eager to feed my sheep, the church?”  The next time you find yourself reverting back to your former way of life, remember this chapter of the Bible so that you remain connected to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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When Something’s Gotta Give

Depending upon where you reside, you might come in contact with individuals who exhibit alarming qualities.  Some people go through life pretending to possess certain beliefs, principles and virtues.  Unfortunately, these qualities are rarely demonstrated, cheap words void of action, behavior or any semblance of consistency.  To successfully confront these type of people, you have to speak in hypothetical terms.  Like a client during a session with a psychologist claiming they have a friend who has an issue, when in reality they are the person in the story.  Thus, you have to carefully approach certain situations in question with kid gloves.

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die!  He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”  Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul, 2 Samuel 12:5-7.

This is the strategy the prophet Nathan takes in the passage above.  Nathan knew King David, a former shepherd, would respond to injustice committed against one of his previous occupations.  This story spoke to David, enraged by what the awful outcome.  Like a fisherman using the perfect bait for a specific fish, David bought the hypothetical analogy hook, line and sinker.  The illustration uncovered David’s act adultery with Bathsheba, the killing of her husband and eventual marriage.  When truth reveals the darkness of sin, something’s gotta give.

But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him, John 11:10.

As more and more people grow up without attending church, this upcoming generation uses the amoral excuse, not knowing right from wrong.  The Bible uses darkness or night as imagery to explain illustrate those who attempt to avoid following or live by rules in this life.  However, you can only be amoral for so long, Romans 1:2o.  According to the apostle Paul, there are countless invisible qualities that daily reflect the presence of God.  These signs like a sunrise, sunset or rainbow shine light into the darkness of this world.  Sooner or later, God will send someone into your life to challenge, convict or inspire you to come clean by confessing previous transgressions.  The next time light magnifies a blatant flaw in your life, something’s gotta give.  When it does, choose repentance over rebellion.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Helping the Oppressed

According to a 2011 study, nine millions Americans struggle with sexual addiction.  Some of the affected are former victims of abuse, rape or were exposed to pornography early in life.  Depending upon the degree or severity of these addictions, it’s clear that someone needs to be the hands and feet of Jesus to help the oppressed.

Flee from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

While all addictions should be taken seriously, sexually immorality is different, causing individuals to sin against their own body.  Like any temptation in life, the more you indulge by giving in, the harder it becomes to stop.  Thus, anyone who loses control by engaging in sexual addiction becomes held hostage by lust, unable to resist time after time.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 1:13-15.

The context of the passage above uses a fishing illustration.  A good fisherman knows where the fish are and how to lure their out of hiding.  In the same way, Satan knows your weakness and how to entice you to take the bait until you are hooked on sin.  In view of this reality, three things must change to help the oppressed.  First, any addict must purge themselves from the environment that leads to sin.  Second, you must admit and confess publicly that you have a problem.  Finally, you need to find an accountability partner to insure that a relapse does not occur.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27:17.

After graduating college, I met a friend in Ohio who was seduced by his baby sister when he was twelve.  Following a young adult Bible Study one night, we began to open up to each other about our current spiritual struggles.  In the next few weeks, deep conversations continued without any spiritual healing.  Frustrated by a lack of progress, the two of us agreed to enter into an accountability relationship, meeting weekly at a restaurant.  This wasn’t easy as topics like masturbation, pornography and sexual immorality were brought up.  However, if you want to be completely healed from any type of addiction, tough love is essential.  Therefore, if you want to help someone you know who is oppressed, make an effort to connect weekly so that the path toward healing may begin.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floundering in the Faith

When a hooked fish is pulled out of the water, self defense mechanisms kick in.  This results in flapping, pulling and tugging trying to escape.  Sometimes Christian face similar uncomfortable environments.  Certain situations force individuals to either sink or swim with many end up floundering in their faith.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

Comfort zones are nice to have growing up, but eventually you need to leave this place of safety to experience the real world.  Attitudes might deter you, behaviors offend you and language may shock you.  Nonetheless, faith is a series of trials and errors, taking risks, failing and getting back up.  Sitting at home, afraid to fail is like a having a flawed faith.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

When you get over the hump, people can begin to take ownership of their faith.  Growing pains develops perseverance, providing opportunities to trust in the Lord and lean not on your understanding.  Unfortunately, its easy to revert back to the past, clinging to former desires of your heart.  This crisis of faith is what Jesus’ brother refers to in the passage above.  If you hold on just long enough, God blesses those who stand the test of time by holding fast to faith in Christ.  Stop floundering and start swimming in the Spirit today!

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Don’t Take The Bait

Fisherman tend to be superstitious.  Whether its a specific time, spot or lure, past success feeds these rituals and traditions.  In the spiritual realm, Satan is the fisherman and human are the fish.  Each soul tends to be susceptible to certain things which varies from person to person.  These weaknesses are known by the Devil, tempting individuals to take the bait.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away, James 1:14.

Since a handful of the disciples were fishermen, some of their words reflect this lifestyle.  In the passage above, James realized that certain types of bait catch a fishes eye.  Once enticed, fish are lured out of hiding into open waters.  If this curiosity continues, sooner or later fish will take the bait, becoming hooked.  In the same way, people who develop bad habits become vulnerable to addiction.  Once hooked, people often destroy themselves as Satan moves on, searching for the next gullible victim.

Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! – Proverbs 7:18

The older you get, the greater and more complex temptations become.  The context in the verse above Solomon urges young men to avoid desperate and lonely women.  While the eye candle may be difficult to resist, the quicker you say no the better off you will be.  However, as soon as you master one weak area, further temptations will come at you fast and furious.  Therefore, be on guard, take a stand or else may be the next to take the bait.

by Jay Mankus

Finding Solace by the Sea

Depending upon where you grew up, there are areas, places and towns which make you feel at home.  Perhaps it’s childhood memories that you cherish, a location you spent countless hours at or an environment that brings out the best in you.  For me, I find solace by the sea.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock, Psalm 27:5.

As a kid, I spent time playing on the beach at Atlantic City before there were casinos.  Occasionally,venturing to Sea Ilse and Wildwood Crest to stay with friends or visit the boardwalk.  After moving to Delaware, Rehobeth, Fenwick Island and Ocean City, Maryland became seasonal treks, leaving fond memories etched into my mind.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance, Psalm 32:7.

In the Bible, Jesus found solace in going to the mountains to pray, Mark 1:35-39.  David retreated to a cave with friends to lift his spirits, 1 Samuel 22:1-2.  While it’s not mentioned, I’m sure James and John found joy in fishing, especially when the season was right.  Well, my point of today’s blog is to make people think of that retreat destination or resting place which recharges your spiritual batteries.  Discovering and visiting this place often brings life to dead and dying souls back to life.  As for me, I find solace while I recreate in the ocean.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Sin is Consensual

It seems like every year there is some famous professional athlete, Hollywood star or politician involved in a scandal.  Cable news, the tabloids and twitter often explode over battles between he said, she said.  In the end, it takes two to tango, reaching a state where sin is consensual.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! – 1 Corinthians 10:12

From a spiritual perspective, every day if like walking through a room with multiple doors.  On the way out, sometimes you might chose the wrong door, ending up in a bathroom or closet.  When danger arrives on the scene, those who stick around to see what will happen might just be an accomplice to sin.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

According to the apostle Paul, God provides an emergency exit for every sort of temptation.  This isn’t like the game show Let’s Make a Deal, having a choice between door number one, two or three.  Rather, the Lord has provided every human being with a conscience to follow the way out.  Conviction, guilt and uneasiness serve as a global positioning system to avoid evil.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. – James 1:14

Nonetheless, the moment freewill is exercised, opting to indulge your fantasies, sin is consensual.  Instead of heeding the warning signs, enticement draws people toward temporary pleasures.  One of Jesus’ disciples uses the analogy of a fish lured out of hiding toward an attractive bait.  While some fish may see the attached hook, the grips of lust is too powerful.  This is where desire trumps common sense, leading saints and sinners to do the unthinkable.  The next time temptation calls your name, listen for God’s still small voice to find the way out of a difficult situation.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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