It’s fishing season! And here are your fishing instructions from John 17:18-21“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word: that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
- Are we supposed to fish? “And He said unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ ” Matthew 4:19 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:18 Jesus has sent us. How often have we stopped ourselves from telling someone about Him because we weren’t sure if God was telling us too? If you wonder whether or not you’re supposed to share Jesus with someone, let’s clear this up right now – Yes! It’s open season!
- Do you need a license? He sanctified Himself that we might be sanctified by the truth. This morning. I was asking the Father for forgiveness for my thoughts and a wave of relief came over me that I didn’t have to beg or plead, or figure out what kind of sacrifice I needed, because Jesus did it already! I’m sanctified because He was sanctified and His truth has ensured my freedom. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves worthy to share this gospel, except the simple act of accepting what He did for us. So are you good enough to share the Word? Absolutely! Not only good enough, but sanctified!
- What if you’ve never cast a pole before? In verse 19 He says, not only does He pray for us, but also for those who will believe in Him through our word. He has already prayed that they will believe what we’re saying. He’s praying for us and them at the same time. This actually is a new revelation for me. It gives me more courage and confidence knowing that He’s covered it with His prayer because His prayers carry POWER!
- What if it seems like your line is going to break? Then here’s your net; “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26 Trust in His Word. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but will accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 Whether you think it was a good day fishing or not, His declaration, His word, will not return void.
- What’s the ultimate prize at the end of this fishing tournament? Vs 21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You” Jesus knows what it’s like to be One with the Father, He knows the awesomeness of that union every single moment, and His heart’s desire is to pull us into that with Him and the Father. We’ve had beautiful high-five moments in our life, those times when everything is right in the world and something happens that puts the icing on the cake, but we have no idea how complete and absolutely over-the-top our joy will be/can be when we are one with Jesus and the Father. For every person who has no hope, who are struggling for everyday existence, who are floundering trying to catch their breath; what a great catch when all of a sudden Jesus fills their lungs with His breath of life and for the first time ever joy wells up in their spirit and spills over into their soul. Yep, it’s fishing season!
Mom and I have been at the Cedarville Community Church the past few Sundays, and pastor Monte Sheets has shared this scripture about the world will know the Father sent Jesus when we are one, John 17:21. And that resonated in my spirit. If we the body, inside our own body of believers and with believers outside of our church body, were one, not speaking against other churches or other Christians, but being willing to forgive their faults as Christ has forgiven ours, how much more of an impact would that make on unbelievers. Watching the government since President Trump has been in office, I’ve wondered how have they gotten anything governmental done with all the infighting. We don’t want to look like the rest of the world. And we have help with this because Jesus said, “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”John 17:15. He has prayed that we wouldn’t be taken out by the enemy. We have the power to walk in love when it’s uncomfortable, to be joyful in the midst of a stressful situation, to share peace when there seems to be no answer, to be longsuffering at the grocery store, to demonstrate kindness in traffic, to show goodness to someone who has wronged us, to live faithfully by the word of God, to be gentle while exercising self control, and yes, against such there is no law! Does that stir your spirit? It should, it’s scriptural! Galatians 5:22-23.
Its no different for me than it is for you, my brain was so full that it seemed to be spilling down into my lungs and my belly as I tried to pray this morning. So I had to imagine myself dumping all that out in front of Jesus. It was a big tangled mess and I knew it looked horrible because there was no way I could organize it and lay it neatly before him, so I gave Him the whole thing as it was and what a relief! We have the freedom to do that! That in itself is worth shouting about!
This weekend Patty and I are off to the Kentucky Women’s Prison in PeeWee Valley, Ky. It’s always fun doing ministry with Patty. She never fails to give me new material for things I can make fun of her about. And if I’m truthful, vice versa. The first time we went to this prison, we went to look for it the evening before so we’d know how to get there from the motel in the morning. Since it was November, it got dark early. I left the motel and promptly got on the ramp going to the highway, but I turned onto the off ramp, which meant I was going down the ramp in the wrong direction, in the dark, and had to quickly back up around the curve to keep us from getting smashed to smithereens! Since mom and dad had let us take their van on that trip we kept that little mishap to ourselves, sorry mom. Mom’s prayers are definitely our travel insurance.
June 14th, I will be going to the Evangel Prison Ministry Black and White fundraiser in Louisville, Ky, and from there, on June 15th, I will be traveling to Rolla, Mo for another week at Camp David of the Ozarks. Before writing this I reread two newsletters I wrote last year and one of them was from after I returned from that camp. Never, never did I think it would be necessary for me to do this again. I love their ministry, love how many children they reach, and love that they were the ones called to it and not me. Somethings we go out of obedience and then pray we learned whatever God wanted to teach us so we don’t have to do it again. Well, they asked me to come back. I’ll repeat my own instruction to myself, “We have the power to walk in love when it’s uncomfortable”. Next month, I will be giving you a glorious report.
The day I leave there, I’ll drive back to Louisville, and on the morning of the 22nd, will be going into Roderer Men’s Prison in Lagrange, Ky for the all day cookout that Evangel Prison Ministry does there each year. This is the blessed thing about ministry and the body of Christ. You don’t only have to do your own ministry, because it all belongs to Christ.
Exciting news for us is that COPE, Coalition of Prison Evangelists, will be having a regional COPE conference at the Cupbearer Café in Auburn, IN, Aug 1-3. The details and registration will be on the website; copeconnections.org. This is an event for prison ministries to come together for worship, testimonies, prayer, insight, and encouragement. You don’t have to be in ministry to attend. And if you’d like to go, but can’t afford the registration cost of the whole conference, the evening sessions of worship, testimonies and speakers, is free to everyone. At the evening session on Aug 1st, there will be former inmates giving testimonies about what it meant to them to have ministers coming into the prison and sharing the word of God and the love of Jesus with them. On Friday afternoon, William Bumpus, who was arrested around 30 times I believe, will be speaking. He now runs the Jesus House in Indianapolis, for men coming out of prison, and ministers in prisons across the United States and in Nigeria. Also speaking with him will be a man who spent more than 30 years in prison. These are testimonies about the amazing restorative power of our merciful God. If you need encouraged, need to see that God is still in the fishing business, this will definitely refresh your faith.
We pray that whatever your circumstance, you will find your peace, hope and strength in Jesus. He is faithful to the end. Thank you for your prayers and support. We appreciate you all so much.
Your sister in Jesus,