After two long days, one due to work and one with a great evening out with my family, page 244 was a much more relaxed day — and looks like I will be able to head to bed at a much better time. 🙂 My second task this morning, after getting the building ready for the day, was to write yesterday’s page as we enjoyed some great family time on the shores of Lake Michigan last night that made for a long day. After that, much of the morning was spent working on a sermon I’ll share this Sunday morning at the North Wayne Mennonite Church. In keeping with a Labor Day Weekend theme, it looks like the sermon will be about a work that lasts. As I would read and study, then meditate on the information, I spent a little time writing an introductory page for a prayer calendar I am working on. The plan is for it to be a photo calendar with a prayer point printed on each day that correspond with the prayer guides in my book, “Pursuing God: Developing a Lifestyle of Prayer”.
When afternoon arrived, I headed to lunch with some of the guys from church before picking up some supplies, dropping them off back at church, and then heading home. After resting for a little while and going through some of the pictures I took yesterday evening, I fired up the pellet grill cooked some chicken tenders to go on a lettuce salad tonight with extra to use for future meals. There was such a haze across the water for much of the early part of the evening yesterday that many of the photos have a surreal look to them. One of the difficulties in making a photo calendar is seen in what happened yesterday. In one evening at two different beachfront areas, I took almost 300 photos and there were many of them that I really like. So, trying to narrow down a year’s worth of pictures to 13 or 14 (depending on the cover) becomes a rather difficult task. One of my favorites from yesterday was of a small boat a little ways off shore in the evening light. With the hazy look, and the lake reflecting every nuance of the sky, the scene looked like it belonged in a different place and time. In fact, I told Mary Jane that I was tempted to call out, “Friends, have you caught any fish?”. With an expected response of “no”, I would have then instructed them to “row out into the deep and cast your nets on the other side.” I doubt that it would have had the same effect that it did when Jesus said those words because they were not words given to my by the Father to speak at such a time, but that is the setting that filled my mind as I photographed the scene.
As I went through the photos and thought about this particular scene, I wondered what my response would have been . . . what my response is? Are there times that Jesus raises the question of my effectiveness at what I’m doing, not to judge or condemn me but to help me be ready to listen to His instructions? When He does tell me that what I’m doing isn’t working and I need to push out into the deep, do I trust His voice enough to do what He says? Do I spend enough time with Him to even recognize His voice whether it calls me to stay put or move out further? For me, I want to think I would readily say, “Because You say so, I will do it.” Experience would say that I’m more likely to want proof, verification, and assurances before I move into action. While that’s not completely bad, it is important not to be deceived by the enemy, there does come a point when we need to recognize the voice of God speaking to us through His Spirit and respond with prompt obedience.
I pray that you and I would develop a personal lifestyle of prayer so that prayer is an integral part of everything we do. I pray that we would take note of the lessons God teaches us on a daily basis as we seek Him. I pray that the lessons we learn would be put into practice without hesitation. I pray that we would “test the spirits” so we are not deceived into taking a path that we should not be on. I pray that we would “push out into the deep” when we know that is what God is calling for.