Into the Deep

It is so easy to get caught up in the routines of life.  In our family, we know what our schedule is everyday.  It is nice to break away from the routine and just relax.  Recently, I had the privilege to break away from everything for five wonderful days.  I knew this opportunity was orchestrated by God, so I sought Him for weeks before my departure.  I wanted to hear His voice, see His face, and feel His presence.  I listened carefully and watched mindfully; I desired to be changed by the end of the week, so I dug in deep.

And Jesus Said…

“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch” Luke 5:4.  Jesus instructed Peter to cast his net into the deep for a catch.  I was struck by how Jesus said “deep” as if Peter had been fishing in the shallow waters.  I thought about myself before this week; had I been sitting in shallow waters hoping to make a catch?  As Christians, it is easy to get comfortable with the depth of our knowledge, the depth of our relationship, and even the depth of our commitment and service.  Many things can attribute to our comfort.  We can be too busy with work and our kids activity schedule.  We can be set in a routine and not willing to change.  However, many times it is fear that keeps us from going deeper.  Fear of what might be required of us.  Fear of failure.  Fear of a commitment.  I know because I have let all of these fears keep me from going deeper at different seasons of my life.  But, for five wonderful days in May 2016, I sought God’s face with a desire to launch into the deep.  As a result, I found a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  No more shallow waters and no more fears.  Take a risk to launch into the deep and let go of your fears, I promise God will not fail you.

-Sharon

Image: http://www.ebiblestories.com/stories/the_story_of_the_fishermen.shtml

I Am Tired!

I am tired!  Is anyone else tired?  It seems there is always something pulling at my time.  Just when I think I can rest I remember something that I should be doing or working on or somewhere I have to go.  There is an endless pile of laundry to be washed, not to mention the ones in the basket waiting to be folded or the folded ones camped out on the table waiting to be put away.  The dishes are never done, there is always something finding its way to the sink.  And just when I think all the beds are clean, floors are vacuumed, and bathrooms are spotless…it’s time to start all over again.

And Jesus Said…

“Come to Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30.  Now, this scripture seems a little out of context when we are talking about needing rest physically.  However, a good friend of mine, Jackie Hughes, told me one time, “Busy is Being Under Satan’s Yoke.”  Isn’t that what makes us tired…being busy?  I have used “being busy” as an excuse for many of my shortcomings.  I might forget to do something and reach for “busy” instead of forgetful.  When weeks go by without making contact with my friends, I reach for “busy” instead of neglectful.  When we get too busy things fall through the cracks, people feel neglected, and we get tired.  I sometimes think that we, women, think we have to be busy otherwise, we think we are being lazy or unproductive.  Yes, things like laundry, dishes, cleaning, errands, and other responsibilities need to be done.  Many women have jobs that add to that list, but this “busy” acronym helped remind me that being busy could be Satan’s disguise into my life.  I don’t want to give him one little place to grab a hold.  No matter how tired or busy I get, I can never allow that to distract me from God’s will or cause me to neglect Christ in my life.  So, when I find myself thinking about how busy I am, or feeling too tired to think, I remember this acronym to remind me to find rest in Jesus.

-Sharon Hoskins

He Touched Me

Think about the conversations you have throughout the day.  Some of them are necessary for information.  Some conversations are pointless; it’s just a bunch of talk.  Others are exhausting; it takes all your energy to get through it.  But then, there are those conversations that mean something; they touch your soul, and you don’t want them to end.  For me, these conversations have Jesus in the center, the focal subject.  “He touched me, yes He touched me, and oh the joy that floods my soul.”  It’s a beautiful old hymn that describes how we feel at the touch of Jesus.

And Jesus Said…

“Who touched Me?” Luke 8:45.  Jesus was on His way to the house of Jarius, but a multitude of people were pressed against Him, the woman with the issue of blood touched Him, and He said, “Who touched Me?”  He noticed that touch because He perceived that virtue had gone out of Him.  This story made me wonder how I could touch Jesus in a way that would make Him stop and say, “Who touched Me”.  I am not able to touch His physical body today, but can I still touch Him?  He touches me in so many ways.  Does my time with Him in prayer and reading my Bible touch Him the way it does me?  I had always thought of myself as being the beneficiary of such conversations with Him.  But, perhaps if I would look outside myself, I could see that the love He poured out on the cross was more than the sacrifice for my sins, but through that He would be able to spend time in conversations with me.  “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you” John 15:3-4.  “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” Revelation 3:20.  The time we spend with Him is a touching time for both Him and us.  He loves spending time with us, just as we love spending time with Him.  Maybe I’m the only one who has not considered the idea that God wants to spend time with me.  Who am I?  Nobody.  No one special, that God, the creator of the universe, would want to spend time with me.  This is how most of us think.  We know God loves us, died for us, and wants to give us eternal life, but we don’t think that He looks forward to our conversations and never wants them to end.  We sometimes think of our prayer and Bible time as something that will benefit us, which it does, but we don’t consider what that time does for God.  What if our goal each day was to touch Him; not with our service, not with our good deeds, or special talents, but touch Him in conversation?  I think it would give us a whole new perspective to our time with God.

-Sharon Hoskins

It Is Written

We all find ourselves weak at times in our life; whether that weakness is a physical burden, financial struggle, or the pressure of making the right decision.  And it’s always during those times of weaknesses that we find our most difficult temptations.  We are almost guaranteed to hit every stop light in town when we are late for an important meeting.  Then we are tempted to speed and drive rudely.  When our paycheck is short due to illness and the electric bill is due, we are tempted to cut our tithe so we can pay it.  Temptation is guaranteed to show its ugly face right in the middle of our weakness.  The good news is that we can find comfort in the fact that Jesus experienced weakness and He was tempted too.

 

And Jesus said…

“It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4.  Jesus had been fasting 40 days and 40 nights and He was hungry.  In that weakness, Satan tried to get Him to turn stones into bread in order to take care of Himself. Whatever weakness we are facing, we often find ourselves tempted to take care of it ourselves.  We look for the answer in what we can do.  Our prayers are often a plea for God to show us what we can do.  We say things like, “I can do nothing without Christ”, but we forget how much He can do when we just trust Him.  It is very tempting to try to make thing happen, set things in motion, or do what makes sense.  It’s easy to fall into temptation, but Jesus gives us the key to overcoming; “It is written…”  His word is the answer; breathed from the mouth of God and hidden in our heart to be used when temptations come.

-Sharon Hoskins

Bread of Life

Many of the five thousand people who were fed with five loaves of bread and two fishes, searched for Jesus in the days that followed.  They took boats and traveled to Capernaum to find Him.  Jesus knew their motives in their quest: “Verily, verily, I say to you. You seek Me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled” John 6:26.  I thought it was interesting that they didn’t even notice the miracle of how they were fed, just that they were filled.  How familiar is that to some of us?  Isn’t it true that many times we don’t notice the miracles in our life?  They followed Jesus for their physical need.

 

And Jesus said…

“Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for Him has God the Father sealed” John 6:27.  They had worked so hard to find Him, laboring in their search.  He encourages them to look beyond their physical needs to a deeper spiritual need.  Jesus goes on to share with them how they can begin fulfilling that need by believing on Him, and eating the true bread of heaven; which is Christ Jesus.  Many of us have come to that place of believing on Him, but we get lost in our physical needs.  We know that we can ask Him for anything and find our prayers being a sort of “grocery list” of physical needs rather than a spiritual hunger for the Bread of Life.  What can we do to change our hunger?  That answer may be different for each of us, but we can all find the answer in the same place; on our knees.  I pray that we will all determine to find the answer and change from physically feeding to spiritually feasting on the Bread of Life.

Sharon Hoskins

Great Faith

Being at the feet of Jesus is exhilarating, comforting, peaceful, and fulfilling.  I can’t think of a better place on earth that can compare to being in His presence and neither could the man who had been delivered from the legion of demons.  He had lived for years outside the city in the tombs, naked, and full of demons.  Jesus sent the demons into a herd of swine, clothed him, put him in his right mind, and he sat at Jesus’ feet.  There was no other place this man wanted to be for the rest of his life but at Jesus’ feet.   He begged to go with Him.

 

And Jesus said…

“Return to your own house, and show how great things God has done for you” Luke 8:39.  When we are sitting in His presence, it is tempting to want to just continue sitting there; hiding our self away, basking in His goodness. When God does those great and wonderful things in our life, sometimes we think that others won’t understand or that they may make fun of us, so we hide at Jesus’ feet.  Don’t get me wrong, hiding at His feet in His presence is never a bad place to be; that is where we find peace, strength, joy, and fullness.  However, it is very important for us to get up and go share with others those great things He has done.  This man did exactly what Jesus told him to do and when Jesus came back to town there was a great multitude welcoming Him back.  The woman with the issue of blood was healed at His return.  Perhaps it was the witness of the man’s life that gave her the faith that Jesus could make her whole.  Let’s live our life as a witness.  We may never know who might be encouraged to have great faith in Jesus because of it.

-Sharon Hoskins