Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Wisdom of Prudence

Posted on: September 17th, 2023

“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling” (Proverbs 26:27).

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 27:12).

“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19).

One of the hallmarks of wisdom is the ability to look a little into the future and see where a present course of action will lead. While we do not have the ability to see the future as God, wisdom is able to project and see possible consequences of foolish and questionable behaviors as defined by God. It is a barrier to what naturally happens from our own folly and sin. Wisdom is our eyes on the road ahead to take note of the twists and turns that will surely come our way.

Wisdom also helps us develop a conscience that is rightly trained to detect and discern good and evil. It is the mark of maturity: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Wisdom does more than ask whether something is technically right or wrong. It asks, “Does this show good discernment? Is it prudent? Is it helpful? Does it show a heart for God or is it selfish? Does it demonstrate discretion and understanding?”

How will we show wisdom today?

Doy Moyer

Assuming The Better

Posted on: September 10th, 2023

Those who have made a study of such matters tell us that we tend to measure up to what certain peers expect of us. If those to whom we look as leaders or models indicate their high hopes for us, we strive to meet those goals. If they indicate a lack of trust in us, a feeling that we will fail, we may lose confidence in ourselves— and fail. I do not believe man is completely programmed by his environment, but it takes a lot of inner strength —built-in character available to those who look to God for the standard of integrity and righteousness (Prov. 11:3-6) —to buck the predictions of failure, and succeed in spite of the gloomy odds against us. Sinful man must be encouraged to believe that he is made in Gods image, and is capable of living to the glory of God.

The Hebrew writer recognized this principle, for throughout an epistle directed to backsliders, that necessitated many warnings of failure and of its dire results, he repeatedly encouraged. They were brethren with Christ, and in Him could be glorified (2:10-13). They were partakers of the heavenly calling (3:1). Gods oath and promise offered them strong consolation (6:17-20). And after a direful warning he reminded them of past successes (10:31-f) and says, But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

The back-slappers have stretched this principle to include insincere compliments—using us (and our pride) to accomplish their ends. They would palaver us into doing their bidding or buying their products. By the same reasoning some would rule out all negative teaching and correction —including that of the Apostle Paul, I suppose. Such maneuvering we abhor.

But elders, preachers, and parents (to name a few) may do a gross injustice to those who look to them for guidance, by failing to properly encourage. Must we always assume the very worst? Love thinketh no evil (1 Cor. 13:5-6), but tends to place the best possible interpretation on matters. It most assuredly rejoice not in iniquity. (Think that one over!) Lawlessness calls forth sadness, compassion, a desire to help, on the part of those who love.

Some much needed teaching re: the church, creedalism, fellowship, and many other subjects, has been ineffective and is rejected, because the teachers assumed a superior attitude and spoke or wrote as though they did not expect the message to be heeded. We do not advocate a Pollyanna, head-in-the-clouds attitude. Rather, suggest it is very realistic to expect that brethren in Christ really want to do what is right. True, many are cumbered with traditional concepts, and may have a somewhat sectarian view of the church. But this is rarely by choice. They have inherited such error, over a period of years, and the surgery must be done with TLC and consideration. It is a fair assumption that genuine saints desire to be rid of all human error.

So, think positively! Warn in hope! Let your speech be seasoned with salt! Fight sin because you love the sinner!

Reflections of the Psalms – Psalms 89

Posted on: September 3rd, 2023

At first glance, this psalm seems to be a song of praise to God and the covenant relationship that He established with Israel. However, at verse 39, the praise turns to distress and a plea for understanding, because the promise that God had made with Israel had “seemingly” been broken by the Lord.

The fact that the psalm contains both praise and pleas make the first verse even more significant. In verse 1 the Psalmist wrote, “I will sing of the loving kindness of the LORD forever; to all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.” It is easy to sing praises to the Lord when things are going well. When a trial is over and the good, which came from the experience, is apparent, a person can acknowledge God’s wisdom. However, when the distress from trials or suffering is at its peak, it is much easier to question rather than praise. Although distress and pleas were on the mind of the Psalmist, praise of God still took priority.

In verse 3 and 4, the covenant made through David was repeated along with the promise that his throne was firm through all generations. It almost seems like the Psalmist was reminding the Lord of His promise. Then, from verses 5 through 18, the writer describes the power, goodness and righteousness of God.

In verse 15-16 the Psalmist wrote, “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted.” For Christians, these verses carry special. God’s plan has been revealed! The great gulf of sin has been bridged through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Too many Christians seem to go through life like they are carrying a great burden, but Jesus promised that a Christian’s burden would be light.

Of all people, Christians should certainly have learned to rejoice in the Lord!

In verses 19 through 37, the Psalmist described the love which God showed to David. David was the king that God loved. In fact, the destruction of Judah by the Assyrians was withheld due to the love which God had for David when he was king. The Psalmist repeated God’s promise that his line and throne would endure forever. In fact, even if David’s descendants did not follow the Lord’s laws, God had still promised to protect the line and throne of David.

The first part of Psalm 89 was praise to God and a declaration of how his love was demonstrated through the promise made with David. All of that was written like a man preparing to make a petition before a judge. First, the evidence was shown of God’s love, power and righteousness. Then, the promise made to Israel through David was presented. All pointed to what should be a continuing time of prosperity, peace and strength for Israel.

However, beginning with verse 38, the scene in the psalm shifted dramatically from the praise to the complaint, or petition, of the Psalmist. Verses 38 through 46 pictured an Israel that was weak, helpless and plundered by its enemies. What should have been was not the reality that Israel faced and the Psalmist raised his questions to God, “How long, O LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire?”

Any knowledgeable Christian could have answered the pleas of the Psalmist, but for him, the path was not clear, and God’s intent and plan was a mystery. The only thing he could determine was that God had seemingly gone back on his covenant. Yet, the Psalmist also knew that could not happen. What was the answer?

The answer rests in the fact that any promise of God is conditional. God was not pleased with Israel after the reign of David. The leaders and people kept drifting from God to idols – they committed spiritual adultery. For that reason, Israel was punished. The northern kingdom was completely destroyed and the southern kingdom, Judah, was destroyed and the people were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. In spite of that, God’s covenant, his promises and plan had NOT been forgotten. In the “fullness of time” God’s plan and promises were made known through Jesus Christ. God was true to David. The plea, “How long?” was answered in a stable in the village of Bethlehem.

Today, when problems, evil men or powers seem to block the work of Christians, the same plea goes up, “How long O Lord?”

The answer lies in the Good News. Do not fear or doubt. God is all powerful, he is faithful and just. Evil will lose and the faithful children in Christ Jesus will have the victory. The Christians final words should be the same as the psalm, “Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen”

James Shelburn

Examples Of Selfish People

Posted on: August 27th, 2023

Romans 15:4 states that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Many of the “things” written in the Bible are examples, both positive and negative, from which we are able to learn how we are or are not to behave and think before God. A lot of those examples are of selfish people who illustrate the characteristics and consequences having an improper attitude toward self. A consideration of those examples is beneficial for anyone who wants to “deny self” and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24).

Cain—an example of one who had no concern for others (Genesis 4). Most are familiar with the story of Cain—how God rejected his sacrifice while accepting that of Abel, his brother. Cain, jealous of his brother and having no regard for anyone but self, murdered his brother. When God afterward asks him where Abel was, Cain responds with the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9). All of us must realize we are our “brother’s keepers.” We are to look out for the interests of others (Phil. 2:4) and to esteem others better than self (Phil. 2:3). We must love one another (1 John 4:7). Cain’s selfishness caused him to hate his brother and kill him (1 John 3:11-12).

Ahab—an example of one whose selfishness led him to be concerned about things before he was concerned about people. King Ahab coveted Naboth’s vineyard and pouted when he could not get it (1 Kings 21). His wicked wife Jezebel killed Naboth and then gave his vineyard to her husband as a gift. He was ecstatic. He gave no thought to Naboth or his family. He had what he wanted. Too many people place undue emphasis on things of this world and too little on people. Jesus said one cannot serve God and things (Matt. 6:24).

David—an example of a selfish attitude which caused him to seek fulfillment of his own pleasures with no regard to the cost in getting them. His selfish pursuit of pleasure caused him to sin with Bathsheba. His selfishness then led to lies and murder (2 Samuel 11). God did not allow his sin to go unpunished. He sent the prophet Nathan to expose the sin of David and to announce God’s judgment upon him. Like David, far too many people today are selfishly pursuing pleasure with no regard for either consequences or the impact of their actions upon others.

James and John—examples of those who selfishly desire power and prestige for themselves. They asked for the most prestigious and powerful positions in Jesus’ kingdom (Matt. 20), not to help others, but to have their own egos inflated and fulfilled. The rest of the apostles were greatly distressed at their actions but it seems that James and John had given little thought to what the others thought or how they were affected. They wanted what they wanted and were willing to alienate themselves from their brethren in order to get it. Jesus told them their selfishness reflected the selfish attitude of the worldly-minded. Such ambitious drive today still is opposed to the teachings of Jesus. He said that those who would be great in His kingdom would be a servant of all (Matt. 20:26-27).

The Older Brother of the prodigal (Luke 15)—an example of one who had no compassion or love for others. Jesus stated to His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). While the older brother seemed to love his father, his lack of love for his brother showed otherwise. The Christian may claim to love God but if, out of selfishness, he does not love his brother, he, in reality, does not love God (1 John 4:20-21).

Do you find yourself in any of these examples? If so, you must take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation. You must stop being so focused on self. You must start living for Jesus. When you “deny self,” follow Him and allow Him to live in you, His selflessness will be a part of your life. Everything will be better once you start thinking like Christ and thinking of God and others before you think of self. Selfishness can only cause you problems. Selflessness in Christ will bring you great blessings.

Gene Taylor

What Does It Mean?

Posted on: July 16th, 2023

It is one thing to read a text. It is another to ask, “What does that text mean?” Just reading a text word for word does not in itself tell us what it means. Asking what it means will necessitate entering the realm of interpretation. It is inevitable (e.g., try teaching parables without interpreting them). Saying “we don’t interpret; we just read what it says” is naive at best and dishonest at worst. If one truly believes that interpretation is itself a problem, then we should expect only the reading of the text from that person with zero commentary. No one really operates that way. At least I’ve not seen it in my own life.

Interpretation is necessary, but not all interpretation is equal. There is always a need for keeping a passage in context and using terms correctly. Figurative language is everywhere (hyperbole), and even straightforward language has challenges (Why was it said? To whom was it said? How universal is it? Etc.). Making proper connections takes careful study, and knowing something about the way translations work is helpful.

Much of this is done through normal common sense (insert obligatory “common sense isn’t all that common” here). We are continually inferring from what we read and hear (please don’t deny the importance of inference; it’s a bad look). Even the way we read a text can change its meaning. People can understand Scripture, but we need to recognize what we are doing, see the challenges, and work hard at it.

One of the most egregious mistakes we can make is using or changing a text to fit our already-established agenda. This is easy to do because we are already coming to the text with various preconceived ideas and opinions. If we decide ahead of time that our chosen agenda must be true, then we will find a way to support that through how we interpret Scripture. This manipulates the text to serve our own ends rather than letting the text guide our minds to the truth to which we should submit. We are all susceptible to this problem.

Why am I writing this? 1) Because I was just thinking about it; 2) Because it helps me be more careful; 3) Because I see Scripture manipulated to serve worldly agendas; 4) Because this is my page and I want to promote sound Bible reading and exegesis. 🙂
Be careful how you read, what you take from it, and how you use the text. It is not our clay to shape however we want.

Education I Oppose

Posted on: July 2nd, 2023

Not all higher education is good. In fact, some of it can be dangerously hurtful, especially among Gods people. Thats the kind Im opposed to.

I am opposed to the kind of higher education which becomes an end in itself; the kind without point or purpose. Most elective higher education presupposes its employment in some way. Prospective preachers, for instance, can learn much in subjects such as English and Speech that will improve their effectiveness as public speakers and writers — but only if they employ what is learned. However, to become a professional student who is ever learning with little intention of ever doing is to waste precious time that ought to be redeemed (Eph. 5:16).

I am opposed to the kind of higher education that promotes pride–that subtle kind of pride that self rarely recognizes or confesses. Such pride is almost limitless in its expression. It may lack patience with the ignorant and uneducated brethren. It may even be critical of them for being unable to fathom and appreciate the great instruction and instructor with which they have been blessed (?). (How opposite the truly educated instructor who accommodates his instruction to the level of his listeners in bite-size and digestible chunks — the way Jesus did.) When higher education lowers our esteem for brethren and hinders our association with them, it has been a hurtful education. Care must be taken to insure that higher education is not attained at the expense of humility.

I am opposed to the kind of higher education among Bible teachers that complicates and confuses the gospel message. For instance, the use of a vocabulary that is intended to enhance the speaker more than the message edifies no one (1 Cor. 12:26b). Learning and being edified are impossible without understanding; understanding is impossible when the language is not common to teacher and learner. Even humble men of higher education can unwittingly use expressions that are natural with them but not understood by their audience — it may sound good, but who is profited? Paul did not come with excellency of speech (1 Cor. 2:1), neither should we! The gospel needs no embellishment. Its persuading power does not lie in the wit and wisdom of its proclaimers, much less in their ability to quote from the Greek.

I am opposed to the kind of higher education that causes less appreciation for first principle Bible subjects. Such milk is ever appropriate in the spiritual diet of every Christian and they should rejoice to know that others may be hearing it for the first time. Whether teacher or learner, highly educated or less, such truths are worthy of our hearing and repeating again and again with thanksgiving and appreciation.

I am opposed to the kind of higher education that promotes party spirit between the alumni or other educated peers; the kind that causes discrimination between brethren and destroys equality among believers. Seek it? Yes, if you will use it. Label it, handle with care.

Dan S. Shipley


Posted on: June 4th, 2023

It is so easy to focus on the mistakes we have made in our lives. It easy to get down on ourselves and play the tape: “I knew it! I knew I would mess up. Now look, I am a failure. I am worthless.”  Consider, are not the mistakes of the past contributors to who we are in the present? None of us would want to commit the same mistakes again but they do have value. So, rather than lament what we cannot change why not acknowledge who we are today, mistakes and all.

Also, we need to remember it is not where we start that matters, but where we finish and who we are at the finish line. Think about Saul of Tarsus and then think of him as the apostle Paul. Paul was not a murderer. He was not a rebel. Everything he did in his past was in good conscience, thinking that he was obeying the law. When he saw the light, he changed. He never forgot what he did and who he was. He embraced who he was and prayed for brethren of his Jewish heritage (Rom. 10:10-3). He will remember how he persecuted those of the way (1 Tim 1:12-14). His mind was pressing on for something far greater. He wanted to see the power of resurrection transform him and others into the image of the Lord. Where he started and where he finished were miles apart. 

We all start at the same place. We all start broken by sin. Guilty and ashamed of what we’ve done to hurt God and others. Helpless, hopeless, and wretched. Then we are introduced to good news! We are taught about the Christ who died for us, who arose and ascended to the right hand of the Father. There He reigns as King and Lord. We are introduced to forgiveness and hope. We are born again to a new life with a new mind and a new relationship with God. Great is the burden that rolled away; even greater is the grace that saves by faith. 

When we take a picture of that person in that moment and then take a picture twenty-five years later, that person does not look like the same individual. I am not talking about physical appearance, but rather the change in heart, character, nature, disposition, and teaching. We are not who we were. And we are not who we are going to be.

God wants to make us into a whole new person. Becoming a Christian is no small matter. The goal isn’t to simply make a few cosmetic changes to our lives, but to be transformed. To be like Jesus is the essence of discipleship (Phil. 3:12-14). As I strive to be like Jesus, I will improve every relationship in my life. As I strive to be like Jesus, I will be happier. As God’s work progresses and as my relationships improve, obviously my life will be better. As I strive to be like Jesus, I know God is pleased. 

One of the problems that can come with surface discipleship is that we will know deep in our hearts that it’s not enough. Maybe you’ve sensed that in your own life.  Maybe you realize that you’ve been playing church rather than getting serious about serving God and imitating His Son. The goal of a disciple is not just to listen and follow what the teacher says, but to become like the teacher—to imitate Him. Let’s remember, that this concept of being like Jesus isn’t just some grand, lofty principle that we ponder. It is a principle designed to impact the way we live our life every day.

Hold up a mirror—what do you see? Is it reflecting Jesus (Gal 2:20; Psa. 17:15)? The victory Jesus provides is forgiveness of sins but also the power to break the habit of sin and be transformed. That is the power of His resurrection. That is the good news! 

Rickie Jenkins / 02/01/23 – The Bible Way

Unplanned Consequences

Posted on: May 21st, 2023

The girl heard the news and began to sob. She could feel all of her dreams and expectations for life changed on account of the unplanned consequences of her fornication.

When the drunk finally regained consciousness and the news of his actions and upcoming trial were brought to him, he was dumbfounded. He could never have imagined the unplanned consequences of his drunk driving.

The children were no longer the same. Happy and bright young boys and girls were now moody, depressed, and restless teenagers. The parents mourned the unplanned consequences of their divorce.

Such stories, while heartbreaking, represent common themes in our current society. How many people, had they recognized the unplanned consequences of their deeds, would have acted differently? How often is the old adage repeated, “Hindsight is 20/20?” Such, however, represents the nature of sin: sin seduces with fleeting pleasure without betraying its terrible consequences (Hebrews 3:12-14; 11:25).

Christians understand that sin has unplanned consequences, and such is part of the reason we must so strongly proclaim God’s truth so that more can be delivered from the darkness of sin and be transferred to the Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). We sympathize with people living with unplanned consequences for sin, having once been sinful and without hope ourselves (Titus 3:1-8).

Do we deceive ourselves, however, into thinking that unplanned consequences only come upon people in such situations? Should we also not consider how our own actions and attitudes may have unplanned consequences?

What if, as Christians, we choose to spend more time with worldly associates and less time with fellow Christians? Sure, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with spending time with people of the world, and if we are to promote the Gospel in this world, we must have such association at times (I Corinthians 5:9-10; Matthew 5:13-16). Yet we are told to prefer one another and to consider fellow believers as brothers and sisters, as dear or dearer than physical family (Romans 12:10; Matthew 12:46-50). The unplanned consequences could involve one falling away on account of the bad influence (I Corinthians 15:33), a spiritual weakening for the same reason, or seeing the same trend in one’s children who are never as faithful as they ought to be.

What if, as Christians, we frequently choose social or sporting events, television shows, minor ailments, or any other reason over assembling with the saints? While we may not be violating the letter of Hebrews 10:24-25, we certainly violate its spirit. The unplanned consequences of such preferences could include a lack of encouragement or even discouragement of other Christians, spiritual laxity and weakening, and a negative pattern established for our children.

What if, as Christians, we can only complain and speak negatively of Christians and the church? Such is against Philippians 4:8 and James 5:9. Furthermore, the negative consequences can include further sliding into spiritual weakness, discouraging those with whom you communicate to the point of spiritual weakness and apostasy, and children who understandably want little to nothing to do with such a source of negativity in the lives of their parents.
While unplanned consequences of sin in life can often be endured, we must always be sober-minded and strive to avoid difficulties when possible. Why should we even flirt with the possibility of becoming spiritually discouraged, impacting others negatively for their faith, or even being a reason for the eventual unfaithfulness of children? Let us determine to do away with unplanned consequences and follow God today!

Ethan R. Longhenry / April 29,2006

Things My Momma Said

Posted on: April 2nd, 2023

If you fall out of that tree and break your neck, I’m gonna wear you out!”  Sometimes we don’t think before we go out on some limb. It’s foolish to be where we don’t belong, even if it’s a bit exciting. “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

“If you can’t be happy, you can at least smile while you’re not.”  That may seem like an oxymoron, even patently foolish, but it’s just good advice. Fact is, even when you’re upset or discouraged, a smile can bring a measure of relief, both to yourself and to others. “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” How about a smile, now?

“You aren’t going out and make your mother ashamed, are you?”  Solomon said, “A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother” (Proverbs 10:1). You can’t do wrong without a poor influence being exerted. It behooves every one of us to consider how the Father feels when we deliberately do things that are wrong.

“If you can’t say something nice, maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all.”  How often we retaliate with some verbal outburst against someone with whom we disagree, or someone we just plain don’t like. What progress is it? What is gained by it? “The prudence of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). I’ve finally learned that sometimes the best defense is no offense at all.
“You kids get out of this house; and don’t slam the door!”  Rules are part of life; and rules-keeping is what progress is all about. How many times have you heard your Mom or Dad tell you to be in at a certain time (and don’t slam the door!), or how often have you heard last minute instructions that have become almost boring because you’ve heard them so often? Because they are familiar, does that make them any less true? Actually, God’s rules don’t change and we would do well to pay careful attention when He says, “don’t slam the door!” “Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (Proverbs 19: 20).

“You’re gonna finish your plate before you go out and play.”  How often has a great plan failed for a lack of perseverance. If it’s any good, it’s worth working for. If it’s any good, it’s worth finishing. How many times little difficulties have rescinded our efforts and halted our enthusiasm. “The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets” (Proverbs 22:13).

“This hurts me more than it hurts you.”  I never understood that–It was the seat of my pants that were on fire. It didn’t seem to hurt her at all. Not until I saw a tear in her eye a few minutes later did I understand what she meant. Then one day, I was about to spank one of the kids and I caught myself saying, “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” “Spare the rod and spoil the child” (Proverbs 13:24).

“You better shape up or I’m gonna tell your daddy on you.”  There is someone to which we must answer. That’s so even regarding the smallest things. As I’m wont to say, we need to “be wise small.” Actually, Mom didn’t have to tell the Father; he knew already. “The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he over-throweth the words of the transgressor” (Proverbs 22:12).

“Can’t you hear me? Listen, I’m talking to you.”  We so often don’t hear because we don’t want to. We don’t listen because it gets in the way of what we want to do. It’s very foolish to make a habit of not listening–especially to vital things. “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding” (Prov. 15:32)

“You’re not going to wear those socks to church; they’ve got holes in them.”  It is just so that every man must examine himself. If we will, we’ll often see that we have a hole in some of our socks, that we need to be careful what we wear out in public. It’s a serious matter to allow one’s dirty or mis-matched sox to delay his progress, or restrict his coming to the Lord. Oh, to see ourselves as He does. We are too often prone to self-justification, even self-forgiveness. “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9).

“I still love you–even when your pants are dirty and you look like you haven’t washed your face in a week.”  “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” (Proverbs 24:17). True love learns patience. True love looks past imperfections, little warts, a little dirt on the face. That doesn’t mean that a person who loves tolerates sin; it means he tolerates the sinner, having had a little dirt on his face, too. What love God has manifested to us! What love has His Son Jesus shown in embracing us in all our dirtiness?

I love you, Mom.

Gone Fishing

Posted on: December 18th, 2022

The gospel is for all.  Is it really?  John 3:16-17 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”  Later in the same chapter we read about John the Baptist who makes this passionate statement regarding Jesus, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.  He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:35-36).  Jesus knew that He needed help in spreading the gospel – the good news. This was His purpose and mission while on this earth.  He recognized that the help would come from finding able men who could be His disciples and learn His message to help save the lost of this world from eternal destruction.
    “And walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’  And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.  And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Matthew 4:18-22; cf. Mark 1:16-20).  These first disciples were not forced to follow Jesus.  They had a choice to continue to fish since they did not know this total stranger.  But, there must have been something they saw in Jesus, or what He said, that struck a chord in their hearts. There was a certain power in His statement that caused them to want to know more.  We later learn the names of the other apostles in the book of Matthew.  Jesus gave them strict instructions regarding their behavior when sending them out into the world to spread the message of the Gospel.
    In Acts 2 we learn more about the disciples and their love for Jesus.  How awesome it must have been for them to know Jesus personally and demonstrate their love for Him.  Being able to spend time with Him and to know His purpose, especially after being filled with the Holy Spirit, had to be undeniably the greatest experience they would ever know.  These fishermen would show their skills when delivering the message to those on the day of Pentecost.  We are all well versed that on that day when about three thousand souls were saved after being baptized.  What a big catch!
    We today must learn from their example and follow it.  We understand that we too must not be afraid to cast our net.  It is very simple: we must take the story of Jesus, and the message He has given us, and speak it out into the world around us.  Romans 10:14 states, “And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?”  Our net is the gospel.  You must cast it to catch the heart of lost souls. Don’t expect to make a catch every time you cast your net, but keep trying. 
Things To Remember 
▸    Be patient.  
▸    Understand the risk and the rewards.  
▸    Focus on the casting, not on how many fish (people) you catch.  
▸    Understand our “nets” will require mending and repair at times. (Continue bible study and learn a growing knowledge of the best approach.) 
▸    It’s okay to take more time if you don’t get the results you want at first.  
▸    Don’t give up.  
▸    Cast again and again.  
▸    Keep sharing the gospel.  
▸    You don’t need to have any special talents; just try.  
▸    Remember to catch them before you try to clean them.  (Start with preaching Jesus first, and allow other instruction to continue over time.)   
▸    You need to have a love for the Word and a desire to help save the lost.  
▸    You can’t catch anything if you don’t cast your net.  
It’s ironic, when you fish, you take your catch out of the water.  When you convert, you take your catch (people) into the water (the water of baptism).  Continue the legacy of the original disciples to be fishers of men.  Remember the great commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19).  So, yes, the gospel is for all.  Now go, start casting your net!