Category Archives: Bible

What Can Be Learned From a Feast With Fish?

A lesson in abundant living with Jesus

‘Come and have breakfast,’ Jesus said. None of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. – Free Bible Images

I haven’t had much time to write in the past week. We travelled to our winter residence in Arizona this past week. Getting ready, flying, opening up the house and shopping all take time.

I think I am finally able to sit at the computer and write.

This morning I painted the first Bible art I had done in a while. I read Oswald Chambers and got to thinking about the verse he quoted.

Luke 10:17–20

“All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you — that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” (The Message)

The disciples had just returned from a successful mission. They had been able to cast out demons and heal the sick. They were excited.

But Jesus cautioned them.

Remember you didn’t do these miracles. God did.

How often do we think we did something in our own strength?
How often do we think how smart we are, what a great idea I thought up?

Oswald Chambers is very clear about this too.

The one great challenge to us is — do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit?

What does God want us to do?

I am sure some of these things might please Him. But they are not what He needs from us.

Do we know that Jesus has authority over everything? And do we know we need to yield to Him and no one else?

“Am I wise enough in God’s sight but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world to trust in what Jesus has said?” ~ (Oswald Chambers)

A lesson

John 21:1–25

According to our pastor, this last chapter of John is full of questions, humour, and powerful teaching.

Here we have the disciples who have loved and followed Jesus for the past years, all of a sudden bereft — their rabbi, the one they believed was the Saviour, the Messiah, had been brutally murdered. They were alone. They were probably laughed at and scorned.

So what did they do?

They went fishing.

Sometimes we do that too — right? When we have had a failure or feel like we have been let down — we return to what felt good before. I am sure anyone who has an addiction knows that feeling. I can’t do it the new way so I need to return to what I did before.

There were the disciples — out fishing at night. All night. And nothing. Not one fish did they catch all night.

Then they hear a voice say, “Cast your nets on the other side of the boat.” I am sure they had tried both sides all through the night. But this time when they released the net into the water — their net is filled to the brim, 153 fish, and the net didn’t break!

What does that mean?

God provides.

During the time Jesus was on earth He was showing everyone what it looked like when God’s rule was on earth.

These signs were normality with Jesus.

Abundance

Another was the loaves and fish. Not only did they end up with enough to feed the 5000 but they had lots left over. (John 6:1–14)

There is no scarcity when Jesus is in charge.

Everything that you do — all you have, is a gift from God. This is so anti-the world. The world is all about self-help, self-love, fixing it up in your own strength. Work hard and all will be well. That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard but it’s God who gives us the energy, the passion and the ability to do the work.

Everything is His. We are the stewards.

Nowadays many politicians prey on the fear of scarcity to get their points across. They talk of running out of everything.

We need to remember

We are finite. God is infinite.

A God of abundance is NOT the prosperity gospel. This is the fact that with God there is abundance from Him.

“You can’t fish well without Me,” says Jesus.

North American culture

We also need to balance our faith with conservative management. God gave us brains to be wise stewards of our talents and our finances. There is a tension between faith and management. We need to pray about it — to find the right balance.

Scarcity vs abundancy

When we take communion we need to see our need for Jesus.

Everything comes from the hand of Jesus.

Jesus is present and powerful and spiritual during communion. He is our Provider and our Sustainer. We need to allow ourselves to come to the table ready to recognize His presence (like Peter when he recognized Jesus on the shore).

“Jesus said, ‘Breakfast is ready.’ Not one of the disciples dared ask, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Master.” (John 21:12, The Message)

It’s hard to see the comparison to bread — as North Americans with full freezers of food. We don’t live on our daily bread.

But if you listen to Jesus you will see the truth. With Him, we can have abundance.

What are you allowing God to do through you?
Can you give Him your all?
Can you make Him your One and Only?

Jesus is life! Life abundantly.

“I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)

Blessings,
Janis

May I pray for you and me?

Thanks to Pastor Rick Thiemke at Via Church for a spirit-filled message today.

What Will Heaven Look Like?

Image by Pixabay

One thing I am sure of — we will not be floating on clouds with the angels. We will have an earth. But it will be different. Come with me as I travel through some scripture to figure out how this will look.

First, look at water

Water — we have lots of water on this planet. Actually, over 2/3 of the planet is covered in water. And only 25% of that is fresh water.

Let’s think about water:

Destructive power — floods

Locally:

Water can bring devastation.

Here in our county of Haliburton, the town of Minden had severe flooding — again.

Our minister said that although he grew up in Minden they never had any flooding problems. There used to a 100-year flood in the town. Now it’s the second time in 6 years that flooding has occurred. And record flooding too.

Minden, Ont., residents prepare for record-level flooding again
Resident in Minden, Ont., are bracing for another ” one-in 100-year flood ” – the second of such in six years. READ…globalnews.ca

The United States:

Today, Tuesday, May 21, in Oklahoma, USA there were severe tornadoes and flooding.

“Storms on Monday and Tuesday were causing serious flooding in parts of Oklahoma — and more flooding is expected to develop in states to the east.”

After 14 tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, millions in Central Plains are under flash flood threats
Severe thunderstorms will drench and flood parts of Oklahoma Tuesday, on the heels of a series of tornadoes that…www.cnn.com

In biblical times water also destroyed

The Genesis Flood

“Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth” (Genesis, 7:17, NASB).

What about the Israelites?

They were not seafarers. They crossed seas but only by the hand of God. They were wary of the sea. Storms on the Sea of Galilee came up unexpectedly. Their boats were not really seaworthy.

http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/gnpi-043-jesus-storm/

So water can be very very destructive. We can see how over the years it can push back waterfalls by miles and miles. Take a look at the rate of erosion of Niagara Falls.

Rate of Erosion of Niagara Falls | Marriott on the Falls
Undoubtedly, Niagara Falls is one of the greatest wonders of nature. In some circles there is a concern among…www.marriottonthefalls.com

The word “sea” can be equated to the word “chaos”

In our new Heaven and new Earth, there will no sea.

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea” (Revelation 21:1, NIV).

God will rid this world of chaos — no sea.

That line really struck me — no sea.

Let’s look at Jesus. He walked ON THE WATER. He was above the sea. Water =chaos. Jesus is in control over chaos.

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake” (Matthew 14:25, NIV).

http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/lumo-walk-water/

In the new Heaven and Earth, there will be NO CHAOS.

Jesus will restore our physical lives when we are resurrected — just like He was restored. New life.

We cry water in this world by tears.

It’s a way to release the pain from sorrow.

In Heaven, we will live in a place with no mourning

The water from our tears will be wiped away.

Praising God that with the tears He also gave us a release valve for our mourning. Now, we have that release that allows us to let out the mourning and bring in newness from God.

Bible Art by Janis Cox

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4, NIV).”

The danger in this world

Go a little further and we see that “Danger” will also be gone.

That beast that rises out of the sea — the chaotic force — the anti-Christ will be vanquished by Jesus.

Picture this:

Jesus coming from Heaven. The Beast coming from the sea.

Goodness and Light — Versus — Chaos and Darkness.

Revelation 1:7

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”(NIV).

Revelation 19:11

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war” (NIV).

Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash

“And I saw a beast coming out of the sea” (Revelation 1:13, NIV).

By Albrecht Dürer — Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12255351

One more thought about WATER

There is also goodness that comes from water. It is a symbol of joy and new life.

But the water from Jesus is more powerful

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,

but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14, NIV).

Let’s rejoice that our new Heaven and new Earth will be beautiful, wonderful, joyful and peaceful.

Why is that cell phone addictive?

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash
cell phone
Click on the photo to listen to the podcast.Or click on Hope Stream Radio podcast.

I have been running an online study of God’s Word on Facebook and last January  we  looked at Proverbs.

I love the way God shows each member of our group different things to look at. This morning during the sermon a church I heard why that happens.

Our Pastor said, “As we examine His Word, God examines us.”

And that’s exactly what we have found while studying the first 5 proverbs.

As I studied Proverbs 5 I knew it talked about faithfulness and the sin of adultery. As I focused on verse 3, I read:

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;

From a Bible Journaling

This made me think of other things that give me pleasure, but are not necessarily good for my spirit.

I thought of all the enticements that the world offers that we have to be aware of. There are many.

Then I thought about social media. And my new cell phone. Was I drawn to it – more than I should be?

Looking at the honey analogy I see that social media is sweet, enticing and tastes good.

Recently, I read a very good article in the Globe and Mail that showed me that although our desire to see who is talking on line and whether people are liking and commenting is very sweet, it is worse than that — we are wanting more and more.

That’s addiction.

And to make it worse the people behind the programs, like Facebook and Instagram, can manipulate our “likes” to make us come back to check — which is exactly what they want — the more views, the better advertising. Oh — they caught us!

But how and why do we continue to want to do this?

It’s all about something called dopamine. It’s a funny word — because it reminds me of the word dope — or simple-minded. We are been played for fools.

Screen time has been called “digital heroin”.

Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter. And somehow screens with their likes, comments, games, bring about this feeling. It makes us want more. It is addictive.

Another article from the New York Post explains the “digital heroin”.

Can you live without your cell phone for a week, a day, or a couple of hours? If you can’t answer yes — you may be addicted.

It drips like honey — enticing you.

In the second part of the Proverbs it talks about lips having speech smoother than oil.

There is so much on the Internet that slips into our minds without our noticing if it’s right or wrong. It may soothe your ego, flatter your ability, or lie to you.

Listen to Psalm 5:6

“Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.”

Can that be what we are listening or reading?

Is there a way out of this?

I think there is.

It is called discipline and wisdom.

Read the first 5 proverbs, and you will see that God will provide us the wisdom we need if we ask Him.

In prayer we can ask for help with our own cell addictions and those of our children.

I know with God’s help we can use the devices – cell phones –  with wisdom, and discretion.

And for what we read and share on the Net — we need to research it thoroughly and test it against the Word of God. Does it line up?

I would say that:

If it is hateful — it is not of God
If it is judgmental — It is not of God
If it is hurtful — It is not of God.

Remember Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

The more we read the Bible, the more we pray and the more we listen, we will find the wisdom of God.

And when we do we will find joy, love, peace and hope as well.

May I pray for you and me?

Father, we know there are things of this world that can be good and bad. Help us control cell phone use. We know that You can help us discern how much time we spend on our phones, and how we can use them wisely to glorify You. Help us to find that way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time, check yourself and your family.

Are you snared by that phone?
Are you missing out in personal communication?
Pray for control over that device and stay in the Word to gather discernment about its use.

CALL TO ACTION:

Are you a Christian? If so, do you need to go deeper in your spiritual journey?

One way to continue to grow in God’s Word is online.

Artists and Writers Grow Through God’s Word is an interactive Facebook Group that is a safe place to explore your faith without judgment. Learn to read your Bible and discover God’s Word. Learn to listen and hear God speak.

revival

We share. We learn. We create. We connect. We grow.

Janis is a creativity catalyst with a heart to connect people to God. She specializes in creating art based on Scripture so that the Truth penetrates hearts and not just minds.The world needs more pictures, art and colour.