IN DEEP WATER

Lk.5:4 – Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

It’s not just hard work and correct plans that bring in a true harvest, it takes the blessing of the Lord to produce fruit. This short story is filled with revelation about the call of God, the blessing, of the Lord, repentance, and the power of His word. For the story to even be relevant to us we have to come to one important conclusion, in some degree all Christians are intended to be fishers of men. Once that is settled we can begin to determine what “launch out into the deep” means to us. Peter was about to find deep water, not just in the Sea of Galilee, but deep spiritual water as he began to follow Jesus. That’s where all true fishing expeditions begin, following Jesus. Listen to how Charles Spurgeon describes today’s passage.

“Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskillfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without Him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and His will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in His Church, His presence is the Church’s power—the shout of a king is in the midst of her. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.”

Maybe you can relate to Peter, lots of work and not many fish. How did that change for Peter? It started with a deeper revelation of who was on the boat. When Peter saw it, he was down at the Lord’s feet in repentance. From that point Peter began to follow Jesus. Where was He leading? Out into a deeper kind of water looking for different kind of fish.

New Wine

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

Luke 5:37-39

 

 

Jesus used a strange image to illustrate the power of His ministry and the coming outpouring of the Spirit He came to introduce. He said the moving of the Spirit can be compared to new wine. The strangeness of His statement is this, wine drinkers know the old is better. Jesus is saying this new wine of the Spirit is superior to the old wine of religion. The problem Jesus was addressing is the same in every generation. Humans get stuck, especially in their spiritual habits. Jesus was saying new wine requires new wineskins, in other words change is essential if we want to experience the moving of the Spirit. Are you satisfied with your current spiritual condition or are you hungry for renewal? If you really want more have a drink of the new wine of the Spirit and let the changes begin. Here are some thoughts from Kim Harrington on the new wine of the Spirit.

 

“Jesus used the term “new wine” as a description of His ministry and the Spirit-empowered life. It didn’t originate with Him, however. The ancient Hebrew prophets before Him saw new wine as a symbol of God’s refreshing Spirit, a sign of God’s blessing and abundance. It’s no coincidence that Jesus’ first miracle was turning the water into wine—figuratively, transforming the life-sustaining waters of salvation into the vibrant wine of the Holy Ghost.Those who are satisfied with what they already have will not be willing to drink of the new. Those who like business-as-usual churchianity will resist the rocking of their religious boats. The person who is content in a time of spiritual decline will not be happy in a time of revival. The two conditions are totally contrary to each other. But the Holy Spirit knows how to make even the smugly self-satisfied to hunger and thirst for new depth in their walk with Jesus. He knows how to expose their inner needs and challenge them to come and drink, to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Outpourings are certain. The Lord is faithful to pour out His Spirit on every generation. I don’t want to get stuck with the smug satisfaction of past renewal; send the new wine Lord!!!

BOATLOAD OF FISH

Lk.5:8 – But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

Everyone responds differently to miracles or the power of God. Peter saw the incredible, unexplainable harvest of fish in this story and he was thunderstruck. He suddenly realized just exactly who was standing on his boat. This was the Holy One of Israel. This evokes pictures of Isaiah and the temple when he saw the Lord and was convicted of his sin. Isaiah cried out, “I am a man of unclean lips”. Peter, like Isaiah, began to see the depth of his sinfulness in the light of the Lord’s holiness. This place of conviction of sin is painfully sweet. This is the place where revelation begins, this is the first ‘open door’ we enter through. Peter’s spiritual journey was just beginning. He saw it for himself, it wasn’t about the fish, it was all about Jesus. Here are some thoughts from Albert Barnes from today’s verse.

“This is an expression of Peter’s humility, and of his consciousness of his unworthiness. It was not from want of love to Jesus; it did not show that he would not be pleased with his favor and presence; but it was the result of being convinced that Jesus was a messenger from God—a high and holy being; and he felt that he was unworthy to be in his presence. In his deep consciousness of sin, therefore, he requested that Jesus would depart from him and his little vessel. …We are not worthy to be with him, to be reckoned among his friends, or to dwell in heaven with him; but he came to seek the lost and to save the impure. He graciously condescends to dwell with those who are humble and contrite, though they are conscious that they are not worthy of his presence; and we may therefore come boldly to him, and ask him to receive us to his home—to an eternal dwelling with him in the heavens.”

Have you experienced the bitter sweetness of conviction of sin? Have you seen Jesus as your Savior? Many are stuck on the miracle worker part and miss the greatest miracle of all; new life that comes from forgiveness of our sins. Let Jesus step on your boat; if you do, you will get a whole lot more than a boatload of fish.

Seeing Forgiveness 

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“For which is easier to say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise and walk?” Luke 5:23
In a world that is falling apart all around us with rebellion and anger against authority being loudly demonstrated without the least embarrassment; forgiveness seems like a bygone era. Even churches are jeered at and many discourage attending what they call “organized religion”. Entitlement, victimizing, and casting blame make huge furrows all around us. But when you “see forgiveness” it leaves its mark upon your soul. Faces of forgiveness speak their voices everyday in my small world. It becomes melodic and sings the song of redemption. Malachi ends with an amazing trumpet at the end of the book with this prophetic shout! “And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the their fathers”. (Mal.4:6) There is another kingdom my friend, if anyone said it more and demonstrated it, it was Christ Himself. Have you ever seen or felt forgiveness? Seeing forgiveness in another individual makes earth taste like a little of heaven. Seeing forgiveness wrought out in you is one of the highest miracles one can see. Forgiveness looses the bands of lameness and causes us to breathe the fresh air of the Holy Spirit again. Forgiveness causes us to let go and teaches us that it is well with our soul. For me it started years ago when I became pregnant at 14 and my family tore apart soon thereafter. Forgiveness became real again when at Bible School those in authority did bizarre things under the guise of discipleship. Forgiveness took a turn for me, when others forgave me for the very same things I forgave others for. Seeing forgiveness on display makes our world become beautiful. Would you know forgiveness if you saw it? Christ knew we needed His DNA to have this forgiveness gene implanted.

Spurgeon says it clearly: “Let me say here, that full forgiveness of sin, consciously enjoyed, will not only lift an enormous weight from off the soul, but it will breathe into the heart a great joy. When you know that sin is forgiven, you cannot be sad as before. It will make the lame man leap as a hart: he may still be lame, but he will leap as if he were not. And the tongue of the dumb, even though untrained to speech, shall be made to sing concerning free grace and dying love.”

Redemption by the blood of Christ makes forgiveness possible!

Launch out into the deep or putter along by the shore

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

“Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.” Luke 5:3-9
Sometimes you just have to flap those wings and fly. It is almost like something just seems to swell up from the inside of you commanding to “walk on the water”. I love those moments, when God’s voice speaks a dream over and over again, almost like a huge paintbrush on a spiritual canvas. But as time goes on, the older we get, one tends to stick to the shoreline where it’s safer, calmer and well, predictable. Our past failures seem to keep us stuck in a vicious cycle of fear. I believe God is even in the so called failure because humility waits for us at the end of the long dark trial.

McClaren’s Commentary says, “I will ask you to put emphasis upon one word, ‘Launch out into the deep.’ As long as you keep puttering along, a boat’s length from the shore, you will only catch little fishes. The big ones, and the heavy takes are away out yonder. Go out their, if you want to get them. Which, being translated, is this-The same spirit of daring enterprise, which is a condition of success in secular matters, is no less potent a factor in the success of Christian men in their enterprises for Jesus Christ. As long as we keep Him down, within the limits of use and want, and are horribly afraid of anything that our great-grandfathers did not use to do, there will be very few fish in the bottom of the boat.”

In other words, “Christ loves to take our weakness into His hands and make it strong, not that weakness may be worshipped, but that the strength may be adored which even makes weakness subservient to its might.” Spurgeon

Jesus is speaking to Peter, that the fish (souls) will come if you launch. He even gave Peter direction on which side to throw the nets. The invisible work of the Holy Spirit seems to be the guide when we step out in faith to reach our city, our neighbors and our world. God needs fisherman, will you grab your net and go?

 

HEART WOUND

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

The hand of the Lord upon a man of God can bring sudden awareness of sin in those he ministers to. In today’s scripture Peter suddenly found himself naked before the Lord, his sins were exposed, his new life was about to begin. The Lord raised up a young man by the name of George Whitefield back in the days of Colonial America. The power of God was upon him, as he preached, the hearers would come under conviction of their sinfulness. A Connecticut farmer by the name of Nathan Cole recorded his experience with the hearing of George Whitefield. Here is an excerpt from Thomas Kidd’s book, George Whitefield America’s Spiritual Founding Father, where Kidd shares about Nathan Cole’s encounter.
“’He looked almost angelical; a young, slim, slender youth before some thousands of people with a bold undaunted countenance, and my hearing how God was with him everywhere as he came along it solemnized my mind; and put me into a trembling fear before he began to preach; for he looked as if he was clothed with authority from the great God; and a sweet solemn solemnity sat upon his brow. And my hearing him preach, gave me a heart wound; by God’s blessing: my old foundation was broken up, and I saw that my righteousness would not save me.’

This was only the beginning of Cole’s conversion, not the end. For two years more he wrestled with God, especially concerning divine election and unmerited grace. From Whitefield, he understood these doctrines to be essential to authentic Christianity. Finally accepting them, he experienced conversion and assurance of forgiveness. For decades Cole was a key leader in Kensington’s radical evangelical movement, separating from his Congregational church and eventually becoming a Baptist.”
There was obviously that unexplainable ‘something’ on the young George Whitefield. His words carried conviction, authority, and hope. He was raised up by God as a vessel to usher a generation into the kingdom of God. This was not just any generation, this was the first generation of Americans. Our country has strayed far from her moorings in my lifetime. Who would have thought that relationships between people of the opposite sex would be called holy matrimony, that men who ‘think’ they are really a woman trapped in a man’s body can use the girl’s restroom, or that unborn children could be killed as an inconvenience. Adultery and fornication are considered normal behavior, unthinkable.

Maybe it’s time for God to raise up a generation of young George Whitefields to shake our land once again.

Paradoxes – SEEN STRANGE THINGS

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-
“And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today” Luke 5:23
Everyday Christ is at work all around us. Today as we watch the news we see thousands of Syrians fleeing their borders and our hearts break. I wonder if God is at work in the midst of this chaos to bring the gospel to this unreached people group? What an amazing opportunity to show them the love of Jesus! We live in a time where we see “strange things” everywhere we look! Gill says; We have seen strange things today; paradoxes, things wonderful, unthought of, unexpected, and incredible by carnal reason, and what were never seen, nor known before.

Are your in a position to allow the “strange things” to take place in your life? The worst life we can lead is a life of mundane, self existence with me and my four and no more. Or worse still a life that exists just for me without the four!
Mcclaren said , “And such even now is the truest and noblest life. The life which is “hid with Christ” is the life that shines the farthest and that tells the most. Whether in the more quiet paths and scenes of discipleship or in the more responsible and public duties of the apostolate, Jesus demands of us a true, whole souled, and life-long devotion. And, here indeed, the paradox is true, for by losing life we find it, even the life more abundant.”

In a world of trauma, Mcclaren continues, “It is useless to give a man dying of cancer medicine for pimples. That is what all attempts to make man happy and restful while sin remains unforgiven, are doing. Social reformers need this lesson. Many voices proclaim many gospels to-day. Culture, economical or social reconstruction, is trumpeted as the panacea. But it matters comparatively little how society is organized. If its individual members retain their former natures, the former evils will come back, whatever its organization. The only thorough cure for social evils is individual regeneration. Christ deals with men singly, and remoulds society by renewing the individual. The most elaborate machinery may be used for filtering the black waters. What will be the good of that if the fountain of blackness is not sealed up, or rather purified, at its hidden source? Make the tree good, and its fruit will be good. To make the tree good, you must begin with dealing with sin.”
Jesus went to the source that day when he saw the man with palsy. He had a sin problem plain and simple. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to continually cleanse us from open sins and hidden ones. Then let us go and pick the bugs off of others. I will never forget the feeling of sin and condemnation when I would encounter the spiritual before I was a Christian. Allow for the “strange things” to happen through you!

DEEP UNTO DEEP

Luke 5:4 ¶ When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

I was thinking recently about the day Jesus appeared to the disciples while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. I say appeared because He had been crucified several days earlier and now made several appearances in His resurrected state. He saw the disciples were having a rough time fishing and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Familiar words to Peter, he remembered three years before when he heard very familiar words, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”. All Peter could hear was “Launch out into the deep-again”. This was another new day, time to trust God again, time to launch out into the deep. Here is a poem by John Wright Follette talking about these deep places in God.
THE CALL OF DEEP UNTO DEEP

Down in the depth of my nature

Where the issues of life are born,
From that unknown mystical realm,
Surviving through ages of storm,
A call is forever rising–
But its language I cannot speak.
It was born ere I had being,
‘Tis the call of deep unto deep.

* * *

Our mother tongue here is awkward,
For no words can fully express
The needs in the depths of nature,
In bondage to sin and distress.
Our hearts in their depths sorely ache;
They hunger; they call; and they seek–
Then silently wait an answer
To the call of deep unto deep.

* * *

Down deep in the heart of our God,
In mystical regions sublime,
In the Godhead’s holy council
Long before our world or our time,
An answer was fully prepared
Every pain, every ache to meet,
In Christ, God’s only begotten,
Is answer to deep unto deep.

* **

The Answer indeed was the Word,
The Word when expressed was the Son.
Oh language of God how profound!
In answer what more could be done?
The heart of our God is hungry,
His portion, His people to seek.
“l thirst,” was cried by the Answer-
‘Tis the call of deep unto deep.
***
When Peter saw it was the Lord, he jumped in the ocean. He was determined to go out into the deep again. Maybe it is a new day in your life. Jesus is standing on the shore saying, “Come and follow Me”.

OVER HIS HEAD

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 
I was thinking recently of that fishing trip the disciples took after the resurrection of Jesus. They had no idea what the rest of their lives were to look like, so they did what all of us have done, took things into their own hands. They did what they only knew how to do, they went fishing (they had to be from Louisiana). That’s when their lives changed; again. Jesus appeared on the shore after a night of fishless fishing. “Throw your net on the other side”. Those were those strangely familiar words. Peter felt himself being transported to that day over three years before when he first met Jesus. Those words came resounding back into Peter’s head, “Launch out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch”. Before he could even come to his senses it was happening again, that boat sinking net ripping load of fish was being hauled into the boat. That’s when Peter remembered who this man was, he remembered the feeling when he first realized who had stepped onto his boat three years before. Those words were in his head again, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Without thinking, Peter was in over his head, swimming to the shore to be with the lover of his soul. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this verse.
“Peter, above all the rest, was astonished to such a degree that he fell down at Jesus’s knees, as he sat in the stern of his boat, and said, as one in an ecstasy or transport, that knew not where he was or what he said, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. Not that he feared the weight of the fish would sink him because he was a sinful man, but that he thought himself unworthy of the favor of Christ’s presence in his boat, and worthy that it should be to him a matter rather of terror than of comfort. It was the language of Peter’s humility and self-denial…Those whom Christ designs to admit to the most intimate acquaintance with him he first makes sensible that they deserve to be set at the greatest distance from him.”
Have you come to your senses yet? Has Jesus stepped onto your boat? Maybe its time to join Peter, jump into the deep, there is a supernatural world waiting for you.

GET SOAKED

Luke 5:37-38 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

There are some new concepts and terminology you have to become familiar with when you begin to enter the world of renewal. One of the things that has become common in our services at Victory over the last twenty years has been soaking in the Spirit. To those who have not experienced the renewing power of the Spirit, “soaking” is a foreign term. If people who have not experienced the profound power of the Spirit observe people soaking in the Spirit, it may seem strange or unimportant. To those who are continuing to experience the power of His love, soaking becomes a daily part of your life. The Holy Spirit’s presence is real, it is tangible and powerful. Extended time spent in His presence can have a lasting impact on our lives. Here is John Arnott’s explanation of soaking.

“What is a wine skin? In ancient times, people took a goatskin and made a leather bag out of it. They worked and prepared the leather, then filled it with new wine. The wine, of course, was fermenting; therefore, it would stretch the bag. When the bag became empty; it would be flattened out and put aside.
What happens to a leather bag that is used to being moist and then is folded up and put it away somewhere? It becomes dry and stiff. The leather bag then needs to be renewed by soaking it in water- thoroughly immersing it. That is what the Holy Spirit is doing with some of us- just soaking us! That is why we believe in soaking prayer.”

Maybe your wine skin is dry and stiff. That is what happens to a Christian that doesn’t value the anointing and doesn’t take time to soak in His presence. What is the solution? There is only one; soaking. This practice of soaking became a regular part of our services in New Orleans since we began to experience His mighty outpouring in our church in 1994. In most all of our services we have opportunity for personal prayer through the laying on of hands. Many people find themselves on the floor “resting in His presence”. They are encouraged not to rush and drag themselves off of the floor. Stay there for awhile, this is the place of change. I think its time for all of us to get soaked.