Gaslighting: Liberalism’s way to control the masses! Part Two

Gaslighting: Liberalism’s way to control the masses! Part Two
By Lee Hemen
May 22, 2016

Back in 1938, there was a play called “Gas Light” that was later adapted into a movie in 1944. In the story, a husband works diligently to convince his wife and their acquaintances that she is insane by making very small and subtle changes to their environment. When the wife would point out the changes, the husband convinced her that she was wrong about the changes and that she was crazy. Slowly but surely, the wife starts to give in to the self-doubt created by those subtle changes, namely a gas lamp that the husband keeps dimming, hence the term “gaslighting”.

I think we should change it to a more modern title like being “solar paneled” instead or perhaps “thermostated” in honor of President Jimmy “The Sweater Man” Carter and how he gaslighted all of us into thinking we needed to drive 55 mph and walk around our homes freezing to death wearing cardigans in order to fix the gas shortage of the late 70s

This mental abuse of solar paneling was on display recently when both candidates appeared before a group of Hispanics to pander for their ethnic votes. I kept waiting for Hillary to use her best Speedy Gonzales impersonation. While Trump’s comments were off the cuff and sounded kind of lame, Hillary’s were the same regurgitated mental gaslighting liberal Democrats have fostered off onto their unsuspecting masses for decades. She basically proclaimed that the other candidate was trying to keep their children from being educated, from free healthcare, and to keep them out of America! Again, it was the same gaslighting technique used to hypnotize the masses into thinking that liberals actually care about them.

The past few weeks the media has also continued to regurgitate and be agents of gaslighting for liberals where we heard over and over about Trump actually wanting to pay as little as possible in taxes as he possibly could! Shocker! Isn’t this what we all want to do come tax time? And that rascal still hasn’t released his college transcripts; oh wait that is Obama — sorry my bad. Well, he hasn’t come clean with his offshore accounts, money laundering to phony charities, and released the text of his speeches to major financial institutions. Doggone that is Hillary, sorry my bad again. Wait a minute; Trump should be convicted of all those top secret and classified emails he sent over his private server that he knew was illegal to do and broke Federal laws, right? What? You mean that was Hillary again!

Well, you are just trying to go after Hillary because she is for women who are abused and used by males, you know like Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Eileen Wellstone, Carolyn Moffett, Becky Brown, Helen Dowdy, Cristy Zercher or Elizabeth Ward Gracen. This is not the real Hillary you are looking for, keep moving.

I know, I am just being a bigoted homophobic oppressive critical-thinking thought-provoking right-wing conspiracy theorist male voter who is unwilling to listen to the latest liberal Democrat gaslighting technique. I do not know about you but I am tired of living in a low lit room of solar paneled platitudes and thermostatic controlled clichés.

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The judgment of God! – Joel 3:1-3, 6-8, 9-13, 14-17, 20-21

The judgment of God! – Joel 3:1-3, 6-8, 9-13, 14-17, 20-21
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 22, 2016

None of us likes to be judged by anyone, and especially by God. In fact there is a societal heresy that thinks that God should never judge anyone. I oversee a blog that I have edited for over a decade now. It deals with my own comments on society, politics, theology, and I upload my sermons to it as well. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had folks argue that I could not counter their arguments because as a believer I could not judge them lest I be judged! This is utter hogwash. Jesus’ command to not judge others dealt with a hypocritical judgment without first taking care of one’s own problem in the same sin arena. We can in fact “judge” others by their words, actions, and deeds. And certainly God will indeed judge all people everywhere when he returns.

Joel had been up until now trying to get his people to repent and return to God. Now he focuses on all nations including Israel, those who had fought against Israel, and all other nations who refused to acknowledge the Living God. God is going to judge everyone whether we like it or not and whether we believe it or not the judgment of God is going to happen. Let’s discover what this means for us…

READ: Joel 3:1-3, 6-8, 9-13, 14-17, 20-21

There are many of us who would like to have a fresh start in life. Joel begins by telling the Israelites that this is exactly what is going to occur. In fact we discover that…

I. The judgment of God includes his restoration! (Joel 3:1-3, 6-8 NIV)

“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink… You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland. See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done. I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” The LORD has spoken.

1. Whether the enemies of God, and thereby Israel itself, conceded it or not there would come a time of recompense for the crimes they had committed against God’s people. So God through Joel relates, “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the Lord Judges).” The idea here is that all people everywhere would have to assemble before God. Why? The reason was that it was there God would “enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” This is personal as far as the Lord is concerned. He has not forgotten one crime against those he loves. Notice how often he uses the personal possessive “my” as in “my people Israel, my inheritance, my land”. One of the many crimes these nations had done was in selling God’s youth into perversion and the pornography of prostitution and sex slaves. Sound familiar? Today’s “progressive” politically correct society has sold our children into things like transgender identity, homosexuality, sexting, unwed motherhood, and the adultery of living together before marriage. In fact, these nations, these governments, had “sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks (goyim meaning non-Jews or non-believers), that you might send them far from their homeland.” It was a deliberate act to relocate captured youth to foreign lands in order to grow them into whatever conquering nation wanted them to become. Yet God was not blind, he knew what had occurred and who had done it to his own. He tells them, “See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done. I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” It was a certainty, for “The Lord has spoken!” The judgment of God includes his restoration!

EXAMPLE: God would bring his people home from far off places where they had been lead into captivity. This is a beautiful promise for us as well. We as believers are now the chosen of God, his people called by his name because of his Son Jesus. In fact we are his adopted children and he promises to return us to where we belong: to himself! It does not matter on what distant shore of sin we find ourselves, God desires we return to him. Why? We are the ones who have “washed” our robes in the blood of the Lamb, he has spread his tent over us, and never again will we hunger or thirst, and God will be our shepherd leading us to springs of living water where every tear will be wiped away from our eyes! (Revelations 7:14-17) This is God’s promise to his people! The judgment of God includes his restoration!

There is nothing better for an agrarian society than a good harvest. Yet here in Joel the final harvest they would experience would be one where…

II. The judgment of God includes his mighty army! (Joel 3:9-13 NIV)

Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, “I am strong!” Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD! Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow– so great is their wickedness!

1. We forget that there is a great war being waged every moment around us. Paul makes mention of it and here Joel is told to “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.” Interestingly this is not a message for a heavenly army but rather one for the people of God! We are to be prepared for battle, for a war, and we are to be ready for the attack! Least God’s people think otherwise we are commanded to “Beat (our) plowshares into swords and (our) pruning hooks into spears.” The harvest we are preparing for is not one of wheat, corn, or any other kind of agricultural crop; rather it is a harvest of men! In fact, God’s people are not to shrink back from their responsibility to fight in this conflict: “Let the weakling say, ‘I am strong!'” It is a cry for the men and women of God to put on their full armor that is forged from their everyday implements. Perhaps it is time for believers to stop mouthing words of spiritual pacifism, cash in their material goods and wealth, head for war and prepare for spiritual battle! God’s command to his people is to, “Come quickly” without any delay. Every believer from every nation is to assemble. Joel cries out for God to also “Bring down your warriors, O LORD!” God is with us! As never before God’s people need to be wake up from their spiritual slumber and realize that the judgment of God is now at hand. It has been since Jesus returned to his rightful place. Joel understood this as well. He knew his own people had become spiritually lax and so God uses him to tell them, “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.” Like some warrior of old who is trying to get his tired army moving in the right direction God is trying to motivate his people to stand, march, and fight! But this battle has eternal consequences: “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow– so great is their wickedness!” God’s judgment has come and the judgment of God includes his mighty army!

EXAMPLE: In the movie The Patriot, the British thought that the middle of the Continental Army was made up of volunteer militiamen who would run at the first hard charge from the British regulars. And in fact they did, but it was all part of the plan to win the battle. The militia stood their ground just long enough to suck the British army into a full charge whereby they got up and ran, except when they had ran just over the top of the hill that the British were charging up after them on, the militia turned and fought with the help of the entire Continental Army. In that moment the tide of battle was won by the volunteer militia. In our spiritual battle we may forget we are never alone and in fact God is calling each of us to war. We are to “swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe” and the judgment of God includes his mighty army!

III. God’s judgment includes his pardon! (Joel 3:14-17, 20-21 NIV)

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her… Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.” The LORD dwells in Zion!

1. The battle for Joel was imminent yet interestingly there are those who would suggest that Joel was speaking of something to happen far into the future. This is not necessarily the case here. Joel was speaking to and prophesying about a judgment that was coming shortly to his people. He was letting them know that while they were in captivity God was still with them and he would judge them and their enemies because their enemies were his enemies. However the language is such that it also lends itself to a future occurrence. Divine judgment was going to happen and executed on the nations who opposed God’s people: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” With this judgment there would be heavenly signs that would occur, “The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble.” The idea here is that God will make himself known and these nations will know it is him who judges them. However, no matter how awful that day may be for those being judged by God, his people have nothing to fear. Joel promises, “But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” Again, this promise is for the believer as well. God is our refuge. We have nothing to fear on the day of God’s judgment. In fact, God reminds Israel and us, “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her… Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.” The idea here is one of pardon. In fact the idea is one where God is going to pardon Israel’s bloodguilt because they had sacrificed their own for greed, to be accepted by their enemies, and because of spiritual laziness. God would be his people’s refuge and release. God’s judgment includes his pardon!

EXAMPLE: The judge could have sentenced the young man to several weeks in jail but instead he shocked the crowd by forgiving his crime and sentencing himself to serve several weeks in jail instead! Then he took off his robes, went down and kissed the defendant on the cheek. You see the judge was the boy’s father. Isaiah reminds us of God’s mercy when he writes, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:6-9 NIV) His forgiveness is based on who he is and how he responds to us as his people! God’s judgment includes his pardon!

Conclusion:

The judgment of God includes his restoration! The judgment of God includes his mighty army! God’s judgment includes his pardon!

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Gaslighting: Liberalism’s way to control the masses!

Gaslighting: Liberalism’s way to control the masses!
By Lee Hemen
May 17, 2016

Back in 1938, there was a play called “Gas Light” that was later adapted into a movie in 1944. In the story, a husband works diligently to convince his wife and their acquaintances that she is insane by making very small and subtle changes to their environment. When the wife would point out the changes, the husband convinced her that she was wrong about the changes and that she was crazy. Slowly but surely, the wife starts to give in to the self-doubt created by those subtle changes, namely a gas lamp that the husband keeps dimming, hence the term “gaslighting”.

This form of mental manipulation has not gone away and in fact is part and parcel of how liberalism works. Liberals love to slowly change one’s reality and then hit you with the clincher that you are the one who is out of step, stupid, or phobic in some way. This is in fact how liberals have kept certain ethnic groups and others under their spell for decades; they have told them over and over that they cannot survive without their brand of progressive thinking. Those evil others will take away all we have gained for you; which turns out is societal slavery in the form of governmental giveaways. One becomes addicted to the handouts and begins to think they cannot do it on their own. When I was younger we used to call it “blowing smoke”.

From climate change to racial and gender conflicts liberals continue their process of gaslighting the unthinking masses. Logical arguments are seen as Neanderthal and you are encouraged to emote instead. “I feel your pain,” is enough to get the unsuspecting dupes to gush in emotional rapture. But what is occurring is the slow twisting and subtle changes in society and culture as a whole. When all constraint is finally done away with those who have wrested control will use any form to keep the masses in line; from coercion, drugs, or propaganda. Males, who act, well male, are controlled through drugs at an early age and are told over and over they have to conform; society’s norms are pushed further and further into perversion; and religion becomes the enemy. Why do you think marijuana is now seen as sheik, sexual identity is the new norm, and the new political peons are illegals? Those who control the gaslight do not care about the individual only their power to control the lighting and thereby control you.

Recently when a group of millennials were asked what the definition of male and female was, few would or could give a rational answer. Many answered with a form of garbled political correctness that had no basis in reality whatsoever. In fact when one intellectually gaslighted woman was asked how she knew if the person she wanted to date was male or female, she stammered and could not utter a rational answer. She is the product of liberal gaslighting.

This article is copyrighted by Lee Hemen, 2016, and is his sole intellectual property; if you desire to use it you must quote the entire article.

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Return to the Lord! – Joel 2

Return to the Lord! – Joel 2
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 15, 2016

Coming home is often never easy, especially after you have left and wanted to make it on your own and then you have to return and make amends. A good example of this is the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus related to his followers as found in Luke’s Gospel. Yet each of us could probably recount tales from our own lives at how we ran away when we were young or left home as young adults only to return and have to make some kind of amends or correction with those we returned to.

The Prophet Joel related to the Israelites that they had to return to the Lord whom they had forsaken. Whenever the Israelite people faced trials or threats the priests were to call the people out in order to gather them for whatever purpose was needed. Sometimes it was for battle, sometimes for a public announcement, and sometimes it was for spiritual purposes. Here, I believe it was for the later. The Israelites needed to return to the Lord or the results of their sinfulness would catch up to them, let’s discover what Joel declared and how it applies to our lives today…

READ: Joel 2:1-3; 12-17; 18, 27-32

In my home and in most houses there are smoke alarms and now many homes must have CO2 detectors as well. These devices go off when they detect smoke or gases that will harm the occupants of the homes they are installed in. Here we discover Joel telling the people…

I. We are to sound the alarm to return to the Lord! (Vv. 1-3)

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand–a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the Garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste– nothing escapes them.

1. Joel wastes no time in telling the priests to “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.” God wanted his people to be focused on what he needed to tell them and they needed to understand the importance of the message he was about to declare to them. The declaration was not going to be a good one. In fact, it carried with it disturbing news. Joel tells them, “Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming.” This was going to be frightening news. The people’s sin had incurred God’s wrath and judgment. Judgment was coming. Joel declares that “It is close at hand–a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.” We often live like spiritual Pollyannas, thinking that God will only wink at our sin, pat us on our collective heads or bottoms, and send us on our way like wayward toddlers when we keep on sinning. When we do we forget how God views sin! Joel was not confused or deluded by the likes of the political correctness of our day. The Israelite’s sin had caught up to them and whether it was a swarm of locusts on the horizon or an invading army, “Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.” Just as our Nation’s pulling out of the world militarily has created a military vacuum that is being filled by Russia and China, when we sin we will inherit the results of that sin and the results of that sin is always devastating: “Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the Garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste– nothing escapes them.” The spiritual leaders were to sound an alarm to return to God before it was too late! We are to sound the alarm to return to the Lord!

EXAMPLE: Many pastors and others have been sounding the alarm of the deteriorating moral condition of America. The current Administration has done everything it could in the last eight years to tear down any opposition to its ungodly belief system. The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds is just another attempt to force Americans into a belief system most do not agree with whether they like it or not. It is societal blackmail, ungodly, and not worthy of any President. Unless Christians take a forceful stand against this, we will face even greater attempts by the politically correct to force us to accept any perversion. We are to sound the alarm to return to the Lord!

There is nothing worse than a phony kissy-kissy relationship between two people. You know what I mean, where two people outwardly say they “love one another” but in reality they hate each other’s guts. No one would like to have a phony relationship with another because they know it is based on nothing and is not true. Here we discover Joel telling the people…

II. We are to return to the Lord completely! (Vv. 12-17)

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing– grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?'”

1. God hates spiritual phoniness from his people! Jesus called those who thought they were spiritual but who were in reality totally devoid of God hypocrites, vipers, and whitewashed tombs! God is not fooled by our counterfeit Christianity. We can fool others and we can often fool ourselves, but God is never unaware of our foolishness! Joel relates, “‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.'” God wanted the truth from his people and sometimes he has to drag us into admitting it! Truthfulness before God comes when folks are willing to “Rend [their] heart and not [their] garments.” Outward acts of contrition were just that, outward. God desires us to come to him without any guile. Joel tells us why: “…for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Wow, this is why God desires our spiritual honesty. Joel goes on to state, “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing — grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.” The only hope for sinful folks is a complete change of heart! But how is it possible when we are so willing to fool ourselves? Joel gives us the answer: “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar.” The trumpet is to be sounded, a spiritual fast declared, and a sacred assembly called! All the people were to be gathered together from the oldest to the youngest, from those starting out in life to those who thought they knew it all spiritually. They were to “weep between the temple porch and the altar” of God! They were to be totally honest in their confession: “Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'” We are to return to the Lord completely!

EXAMPLE: Confession is more than good for the soul; it is where one begins to be honest before the Lord about their sin. Far too many believers in our day and age think they can smile and wink at their sin and God will overlook their ungodliness. God hates politically correct inclusion at the risk of promoting sin. He responds to our broken hearts. Ungodliness is only cleansed when we come before the Lord in complete humility and ask his forgiveness for our sins. We are to return to the Lord completely!

When we are honest about ourselves and face the truth of our lives we can then mature emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. In fact, where our relationship with God is concerned when we are honest we can return to him. Why is this true? Here we discover Joel telling the people…

III. God desires that we return to him! (Vv. 18, 27-32)

Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. The LORD will reply to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations… Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”

1. For the Israelites their land was just as important to them as their own lives. For them their relationship with God was also a relationship to their nation as a whole. If they repented “Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.” Joel knew that “The LORD will reply to them: ‘I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.'” It was a promise by God to his repentant people. He promised that “Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.” The effects of the locusts or invading army would be completely reversed. Yet there is more that happens, God’s people would benefit spiritually as well! When God’s people are repentant and brokenhearted God heals them and their nation! Joel related that “afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Peter saw this as an answer from God on the day of Pentecost! And not just God’s people would be affected but the entire created universe as well! God “will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” Many believe that Joel was speaking of the coming Messiah; while others think that this might also refer to an end of everything or the end times. The former is more theologically precise because of what occurred during and following Jesus’ death on the cross and the fall of Jerusalem several decades later. We also know that now, because of Jesus’ coming as the Messiah, his death burial, and resurrection we are saved by his grace through faith. Joel’s promise from God tells us that “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” Joel teaches us that God desires that we return to him!

EXAMPLE: People have asked me many times over the decades if I thought we were in the end times. I respond that ever since Jesus’ resurrection and ascension we have been in the end of all things. Each day brings us closer to the Lord’s promised return. Usually what people mean is they want an answer from me if I believe in a series of convoluted charts and theological twisting. What many teach in our day concerning the return of Jesus has more to do with the heretical teachings of Seventh Day Adventists, Latter Day Saints, and Jehovah’s Witnesses than with actual biblical theology. What Joel does clearly teach us is that sinful people need to repent or they will be judged for their sin and their nation will be affected by it. However if we do repent, God is gracious and forgiving. God desires that we return to him!

Conclusion:

We are to sound the alarm to return to the Lord! We are to return to the Lord completely! God desires that we return to him!

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Weep over your sin! – Joel 1

Weep over your sin! – Joel 1
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 8, 2016

My mother was a small bundle of fire that one did not cross. She is the one who made us march out into the yard and cut a switch off the lilac bush for our own whoopin’. If you do not know what a “whoopin'” is then you do not understand punishment. Her philosophy that is sadly lacking in our day and age was the punishment should fit the crime. We were never sent to our room, given a time out, or restricted from watching TV. Our punishments were dealt with immediately and a spanking consisted of only a couple of swats. In fact, we were expected to take our punishment and not “carry on” about it. Mom would remind us to stop our crying or she would “give us something to cry about”. She knew we had to weep over the wrong we had committed or we would not quit doing it. Being remorseful was part of what was expected. One had to weep over their sin.

We live in a day and age where far too many think that no one should face the consequences of their actions. This is not biblical. Joel, the son of Pethuel, the second of the twelve minor prophets, was, as is said, of the tribe of Reuben, and city of Bethoran. Joel prophesied in the kingdom of Judah; and it is the opinion of some critics that he did not appear there till after the removal of the ten tribes and the destruction of the kingdom of Israel. Whatever the date, Joel foretold of events which would occur to the nation of Israel if they did not repent of their sin. Events so horrific that he had to describe them in terms his readers could understand. He was God’s messenger who desired that the Jewish people weep over their sins. Let’s find out what that means for us this morning…

READ: Joel 1:1-20

Good mothers try to impart wisdom to their children. Wash your hand before eating and after using the restroom, brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, get to bed early, exercise, do not watch too much TV or play too many video games, and eat all of your food; but what about morals? Good mothers teach their children about morality. Mothers know from their own experiences that ungodly behavior leads to personal destruction. Joel teaches us that…

I. Sin has devastating consequences! (Vv. 1-7)

The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten. Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine; wail because of the new wine, for it has been snatched from your lips. A nation has invaded my land, powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness. It has laid waste my vines and ruined my fig trees. It has stripped off their bark and thrown it away, leaving their branches white.

1. Joel saw himself as a herald who came and spoke the truth to the people. So, his message begins, “The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers?” Joel’s message was from God. It was his word for the Israelites. They were to “listen” and respond to God’s question, “Has anything like this happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers?” After they had listened and understood what was about to occur, they were commanded to “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” God was going to use natural catastrophes to punish his sin-hardened people, “What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.” Starvation was a very real threat to this era. Food was dependent upon the weather, soil conditions, and whether vermin ate most of the crop or not! They understood what locusts could do to a crop. Yet, they were inebriated, drunk, in their contentment of personal sin toward God. So Joel tells them to, “Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine; wail because of the new wine, for it has been snatched from your lips.” They would soon be sober! These locusts would snatch the “new wine” from their lips as they tried to drink it! However, these were not insects but rather “A nation” that “has invaded (God’s) land, powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness.” And like all invading armies of that day they would totally destroy everything and anyone in their way: “It has laid waste my vines and ruined my fig trees. It has stripped off their bark and thrown it away, leaving their branches white.” Sin has devastating consequences!

EXAMPLE: My mother would warn us over and over to be wise in the people we picked as our friends because she knew that “bad company corrupts good character.” Even if we maintain a friendship in order to gain some self satisfaction we will suffer from an ungodly one. Sin rubs off and soon we are making excuses for our own ungodly behavior instead of getting rid of the evil influence in our lives. The Israelites had allowed themselves to become lazy in their relationship with the world around them. Inter-marriages with others who did not honor the Living God, acceptance of worshipping false gods, and the acceptance of personal sin in the lives of their own priests had become common place. Personal and societal corruption and perversion was excused and venerated. Sound familiar? God would not be mocked; they were going to suffer the cost of the sin. Sin has devastating consequences!

My mother used to tell us that “Anyone can be sorry, but being sorry isn’t enough.” Like little children who are caught disobeying, the Israelites were quick to tell God they were “sorry” but their actions spoke volumes concerning the truth. Joel prophesied that…

II. Sin causes grief unless we repent! (Vv. 8-14)

Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth grieving for the husband of her youth. Grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the LORD. The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the LORD. The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Despair, you farmers, wail, you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed. The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree– all the trees of the field–are dried up. Surely the joy of mankind is withered away. Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.

1. How sad is it when someone young dies, but how truly horrendous when a newly married bride does not even get to be with her new husband before he dies! God tells the Israelites through Joel that they were to “Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth grieving for the husband of her youth.” This bride did not even get to share her marriage bed before her husband was taken from her and the Israelites were going to experience that kind of grief for their sin! In fact their “Grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the LORD. The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the LORD. The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails.” This means they could not do their daily sacrifices for their sin! This would be like Jesus telling us today, “I no longer want to or will hear your confession of sin!” In fact their sin was so great it was going to affect everything! Joel declares, “Despair, you farmers, wail, you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed. The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree– all the trees of the field–are dried up. Surely the joy of mankind is withered away!” They would experience spiritual and physical famine! We think we are so smart when we sin. We make all kinds of excuses for it and then disaster strikes because of our sinful behavior. What is the answer to our sin? What was the answer for their sin? Joel tells them, “Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly.” Their priests were to confess their sin and humble themselves before God all night! They were to “declare a holy fast” where no one ate or drank but instead spent their time in confession in a “sacred assembly” and contrition before God for their sin! Perhaps it is time for the churches of America to “Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.” Sin causes grief unless we repent!

EXAMPLE: The little boy stood outside of the classroom cry his lungs out. When asked what was wrong by a passerby he sobbed, “The teacher made me stand outside of the room!” When asked why he did not know why. Yet with further investigation it was learned that he had not only spoke out loud and out of turn in class but had made a snide comment to the teacher in front of the class, and she had therefore asked him to stand outside of the room for a moment. When asked what he should do in order to return to the classroom, he refused to respond. He knew he needed to apologize but he was unwilling to admit he had been wrong. When he got home his mother made him return to the school with her and tell the teacher he was sorry for disrupting the class. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but it was one I never forgot. Sin causes grief unless we repent!

In our day and age we actually think we should not have to suffer any consequences for our actions that we should in fact be allowed to do whatever we want when we want to. My mother would say that this is just “stupid thinking”. Sadly, we see the results of unbridled our lives. Joel reminds us that…

III. We will suffer for our sin until we repent! (Vv. 15-20)

Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes– joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seeds are shriveled beneath the clods. The storehouses are in ruins, the granaries have been broken down, for the grain has dried up. How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering. To you, O LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures.

1. Just like a runaway train that cannot be stopped, the day will come when the results of ungodly behavior will be judged. The train wreck will occur. Joel laments, “Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.” Do we actually think we will not have to pay for our bad behavior? Do we think God will turn a blind eye? Can’t we see for our self the effect sin is having on our lives, the lives of others and our nation? The sinful Israelites couldn’t and neither can we. This is why Joel incredulously asks, “Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes– joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seeds are shriveled beneath the clods. The storehouses are in ruins, the granaries have been broken down, for the grain has dried up. How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering.” Like meth addicts sinful people love their sin so much they can look at what it is doing to their lives and others and still not care! Yet the result of our addiction will catch up to us. The only answer is for the addict to stop abusing and stay sober. The only answer for the sinner is to recognize his sinful condition turn to the Lord and walk with him! Joel tells God, “To you, O LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures.” We will suffer for our sin until we repent!

EXAMPLE: My mother could not believe it when my father fell ill due to heart disease. He was a young man in his 30s, had hunted, hiked, and fished for decades. It resulted in years of poverty for our family. My mother became the main bread winner, working at manual labor jobs because of her lack of education. And what truly hurt was the fact that it could have been all avoided if he had not smoked. My father was never without a cigarette and smoked from two to three packs a day. It created weakened heart muscles and hardened arteries. We all tried to get my father to quit but nothing worked and he refused. He died at the age of 51 years leaving a wife and three children. We will suffer for our sin until we repent!

Conclusion:

Sin has devastating consequences! Sin causes grief unless we repent! We will suffer for our sin until we repent!

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Forgiveness! – John 21:15-25

Forgiveness! – John 21:15-25
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 1, 2016

My father asked us what we should tell our mother when had not come home right away when she called. I grew up in a day and age when mothers would stand outside of their front doors and holler down the street for their children to “come home, it’s dinner!” The only phones we had were the rotary dial kind and most children actually played outside and walked home by themselves! We both automatically responded, “Sorry.” My Dad remarked, “Being sorry is not good enough, you need to apologize to your mother.” Saying your “sorry” is totally different than being remorseful or repentant. The first is more of a response in order to deflect any consequences for our wrong doing or ungodly behavior, while repentance comes from being inwardly broken and open confession. Forgiveness cannot happen without repentance.

Impulsive Peter had vehemently said he would never deny Jesus and of course he did, three times. Afterwards he was remorseful and saddened by his cowardly actions, but he had not asked Jesus’ forgiveness for his betrayal. We may wonder why the other disciples, who had ran away and deserted Jesus during his greatest need, did not have to ask for his forgiveness like Peter. Do not forget Peter’s insistence he would never betray Jesus even if everyone else fell away and his impulsive nature that needed to be calmed. Let’s take a fresh look at what forgiveness is…

READ: John 21:15-25

I have heard all kinds of excuses for not accepting Jesus: “When I get older.” “I’m not good enough.” “I do not know the Bible well.” But the one that often is the real reason why folks are unwilling to accept Jesus is that they misunderstand what Jesus is all about. He is not about accusing them of one of their shortcomings, their lack of knowledge, nor is he concerned about their age. What they need to do is to come to the truth like Peter did, namely that…

I. Forgiveness accepts Jesus’ love! (Vv. 15-19)

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

1. The disciples had headed to Galilee; they had fished together, experienced another of Jesus’ miracles, and eaten together. “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?'” Peter like the rest of us innately understood that Jesus loves him, but he failed to understand what that means! When Jesus asked Peter if he truly loved him “more than these”, he was referring to the disciples. Peter needed to understand what repentance was all about, it was more than feeling sorry. His willingness to follow Jesus would strain all of his worldly relationships. Peter had declared, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33 NIV) He was placing himself about his friends and was he truly willing to do that? “‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.'” But Jesus does not stop there, he continues. John relates, “Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’ The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.'” In Jesus’ three questions of love (agapas, agapas, and phileis) and Jesus’ three commands of duty (boske, “tend”; poimaine, “herd, lead to pasture”; boske) various Greek synonyms are used. Jesus was not only reminding Peter of the three times he had denied him, but Jesus was also teaching Peter about forgiveness. It is not about how we feel, our emotional state, nor our physical condition; Jesus’ forgiveness is all about his love for us! “‘I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, Follow me!'” When we grow old we often lose the abilities we once enjoyed when we were younger. John wrote his gospel way before Peter’s martyrdom in Rome where he was crucified upside down. John had no way of knowing how Peter would die, but Jesus did. Peter needed to understand the extent of following Jesus. Forgiveness accepts Jesus’ love!

EXAMPLE: David McCasland writes in Our Daily Bread that “A meaningful apology can be the first step toward forgiveness. Colleen O’Connor writes in The Denver Post: “The successful apology dissolves anger and humiliation. It shows respect, builds trust, and helps prevent further misunderstanding. A sincere apology makes it much easier to forgive. And author Barbara Engel says that a true apology depends on the three Rs: regret, responsibility, and remedy… As Christians, we have a responsibility to repent and sincerely say ‘I’m sorry’ whenever we wrong another person. In a spirit of humility and love, we can help those who need to forgive us by offering a genuine apology.” Peter needed to fully understand the depth of Jesus’ forgiveness. Forgiveness accepts Jesus’ love!

John’s gospel tells us over and over again of Jesus’ love. John understood this and Peter needed to firmly understand as well. We learn that…

II. Forgiveness follows Jesus! (Vv. 20-25)

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

1. John wanted his readers to know that he was there and that he saw and heard everything he was writing about. He tells us that “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is going to betray you?’) When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'” It was none of Peter’s concern what happened to John, he needed to follow Jesus. Jesus’ admonishment is in the form of a command. Evidently John was personally hurt by Peter’s remark because it caused the rest of the disciples to speculate about John, “Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'” John wanted folks to understand fully what Jesus meant. And Jesus did not mean John would stay alive until Jesus’ second coming, but rather that it wasn’t Peter’s concern. John’s account is full of little personal items that even the other gospel narratives do not contain; this is why it is often one of the favorites of most people. John makes it very plain that he is indeed the one who witnessed and wrote about what he had seen and heard. “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down”, he writes. And then continues by relating, “We know that his testimony is true.” The idea of “know” here is one of experiential knowledge. John was certain and gave testimony, as in a courtroom, of what he experienced himself. This was no secondhand knowledge but a personal witness! And John did not lie about what he experienced and witnessed concerning Jesus! John ends his gospel, his testimony, concerning Jesus with this caveat: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” What were these things? Who knows, however, what we do know is the fact that forgiveness follows Jesus!

EXAMPLE: Haddon Robertson reminds us that, “God is highly dangerous. We are sinful and He is holy. Sin can no more exist in the presence of God than darkness can exist in the presence of light. To stand before Him in self-righteousness would be to invite our destruction. The psalmist wrote, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3). In a cemetery not far from New York City is a headstone engraved with a single word: Forgiven. The message is simple and unembellished. There is no date of birth, no date of death, no epitaph. There is only a name and the solitary word forgiven. But that is the greatest word that could ever be applied to any man or woman, or that could be written on any gravestone… God is honored and worshiped because He alone can clear our record. If God could not forgive us, we could only flee from Him in terror. Yet the God whose holiness threatens us is the God who through Christ redeems us. This dangerous God offers forgiveness for all our sins. We only need to ask Him. Are you forgiven?” Forgiveness follows Jesus!

Conclusion:

Forgiveness accepts Jesus’ love! Forgiveness follows Jesus!

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The fishing trip! – John 21:1-14

The fishing trip! – John 21:1-14
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 24, 2016

There are a few things I really like to do that I do not get the time I would like in order to be able to do them. I like to shoot, draw, take photographs, hike, and I love to fish. Fishing is extremely relaxing for me, and whether I catch anything or not, it does not matter because I like the art of it and the ability to forget about everything else and just fish. Two guys can fish for hours and not say anything. I just love to fish.

For most of the disciples fishing was a way of life. It was not just a way to earn money but it was a way to feed their families as well. Fishing was a matter of life or death and these men knew how to fish. As we finish out John’s Gospel we discover that the disciples had returned to Galilee and while waiting for Jesus there they decide to go fishing. Let’s take a look at the fishing trip.

READ: John 21:1-14

There is a story told of an old Irish gentleman who was fishing in the rain in a puddle outside of a local pub. A passerby took pity on him and offered to buy him a drink inside so he could warm up and dry off. As they were sitting inside the man asked the elderly Irishman, “How many fish did you catch in that puddle outside?” He smiled and looked at him and replied, “You make the fourth one today!” In fishing, I have learned that…

I. You can’t catch fish until you cast your net! (Vv. 1-6)

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

1. After Jesus had confronted Thomas and he had believed and after they followed his instruction to go to Galilee where he would meet them, “Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias.” For John it is a matter of fact and he is relating these things that he experienced to his readers. The Sea of Tiberias was another name for the Sea of Galilee or Lake of Gennesaret. John explains, “It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.” Jesus brought the disciples together for specific reasons and here we discover that not all of them were evidently there at this time; only about seven of them including John the narrator. Is this important for us to speculate on? Probably not, however, Peter being impulsive and probably bored waiting for Jesus to come tells the others, “I’m going out to fish.” Peter knew how to fish he was after all a fisherman and had been one before Jesus had called him to be his disciple. The others, having nothing better to do, readily reply, “We’ll go with you.” Guys hate to be left out of a good fishing trip! “So they went out and got into the boat”. It turned out to be not very fruitful. This is interesting because both Peter and the Sons of Zebedee had been fishermen with their own boats. They knew the Lake well, when and where to fish on it. Their lives had depended upon knowing the best conditions to fish, “but that night they caught nothing.” It was not unusual for them to fish at night with lanterns to attract the fish. Yet, “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.” Busy about their task they did not realize who stood on shore. “He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.'” This is Jesus. I can imagine him smiling as he makes his suggestion to these longtime fishermen. Perhaps they thought that since they hadn’t caught any fish yet, any suggestion was good as another or maybe the stranger on shore saw something they did not. However, “When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish!” You can’t catch fish until you cast your net!

EXAMPLE: Believe me there is nothing more sacred than fishing for a guy. And there is nothing worse than someone trying to tell someone else who knows how to fish, how to fish! But if you know the water you are fishing and have fished it many times, then you can impart some personal knowledge to the novice in the boat with you. And if they are wise they will at least listen to your advice even if they do not use it. The problem with far to many believers in our day and age is that they have not only never attempted to fish, but they refuse to take any advice from those who know the waters and have done so. Of course I am speaking of witnessing. If you have not caught any fish, unbelievers, as a Christian, perhaps you need to take some simple advice: You can’t catch fish until you cast your net!

“This is how you cast your line” my father told me for the hundredth time. At least that’s what it seemed like. I complained, “Papa, you’ve told me over and over how to cast my line! Why do you keep telling me how to do it?” He replied, “Yes, and the fish are still waiting. Keep practicing.” In fishing, I have learned that…

II. Jesus already has fish prepared for you! (Vv. 7-9)

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

1. An impulsive nature can either be enduring or tiring depending on one is being affected by it. Peter was sometimes tiring and sometimes enduring. Here he is more enduring than tiring. John relates a typical Peter moment: “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” Perhaps Peter had learned that the unexpected was what one was to expect where Jesus is concerned. Kind of like a child who hears the word ice cream truck, Peter hears that it is indeed Jesus! His reaction is just as impulsive but here it is more to the way Jesus desires all of his followers respond to his presence; immediately and without hesitation. When we do we will discover all the things God already has for us. Interestingly, “The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.” Here we discover the others were left to do the heavy lifting however Jesus already had enough fish cooking for them to eat! Where did he get the fish, how did he get the fish, and when did he get the fish are not really important as the fact that Jesus had fish! John relates that “When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.” Perhaps the disciples had to learn that the things of God only come when one is willing to go out and prepare them for service. They had spent the night fishing, then they were told where they could find fish, and finally they got more than they imagined! Yet what I believe is the final teaching here is the fact that Jesus already knows where and when you can fish but also that he has already prepared them for you! Jesus already has fish prepared for you!

EXAMPLE: As we looked out on the big lake and the dark green smooth water it seemed as if we were the only ones fishing. And I wondered just how many fish were out there for me to catch. Of course there are always fish out there but they are not always caught. It can depend on the weather, the water, the bait, the fisherman, and the contrary nature of the fish. However there is one other important thing concerning fishing, the right equipment. I have learned over the decades that if you use cheap hooks, lousy line, or a poor pole your chances of consistently landing a fish are greatly reduced. In fishing for men using the Gospel we already have the best message, the greatest means, and the right equipment. Sometimes, rather often really, we need to rely on the fact that Jesus already has fish prepared for you!

I was surprised at first and then delighted to learn that you had to kill the fish, clean the fish, and then cook the fish after you caught them. In fishing, I have learned that…

III. You have to share what is caught! (Vv. 10-14)

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

1. Here we see again John’s adherence to detail which helps us understand that this is truly an eyewitness account. After coming to shore, “Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.'” John is there and knows what Jesus said, but for us today it is important because the Lord tells us the very same thing. Here’s what I mean: We are to bring the fish, the unsaved, we have caught by the message of the Gospel to him. We are his fishermen and women. We are to be about catching fish and bringing them to Jesus. Now it is important for us to understand what this truly means. I used to think and was often taught that it was our job to be evangelical and annoying witnesses wherever we went. This is simply not true. Notice how John describes the fish that were caught that day. And yes, I know they were real fish and not men, but John describes them as “large fish” and that there were “153” of them. He was concerned for each one because fishermen in those days would bring their catch in and everyone on the boat got an equal share of the catch. So numbers were important. And numbers are important to Jesus as we bring the fish we have caught to him. I am not talking about the many false and phony baptisms and conversions I have seen in my day that some are willing to do. I am talking about the actual fish themselves; the actual people who one has shared the good news with. And notice what Jesus does with those fish, he offers them as sustenance. We are to offer the ones we bring to Jesus as a sweet aroma to the Lord. A sacrifice of our time, our busy lives, our willingness to take a moment along the way and share the good news with another we bring to Jesus. “Come and have breakfast” he tells them. It is in this sweet fellowship of sharing that the disciples enjoy Jesus’ company. John relates, “None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” You have to share what is caught!

EXAMPLE: It was the biggest six inch trout I had ever seen in my life because I caught it! And imagine my frustration when I had to share it with my brother! None of my “but Dad” would sway my father’s mind, I had to share what I had caught. The same is true with those we bring to the Lord. It is our duty to bring them into the fellowship of sharing them with Jesus. We do this as we bring them to church, as we bring them to Bible Study or Sunday school, and we do this as we disciple them in the teachings of Jesus! You have to share what is caught!

Conclusion:

You can’t catch fish until you cast your net! Jesus already has fish prepared for you! You have to share what is caught!

This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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