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It’s so easy to read the Bible and see the people in it as people of incredible faith or to marvel at the miracles that they experience as something that we could never see in our lives. Jesus is here with us today. As much as he called the disciples, he has called us to live lives of supernatural power. He is calling us to step out in faith. We asks us to walk in obedience. He is calling us to feel his power at work in the mundane parts of our lives, redeeming them, and using them to glorify himself.

Hold That Thought, Jesus

We tend to compartmentalize our lives. We make little boxes for the different parts of our world and rarely mix their contents. We step into our spiritual box periodically to check in with how Jesus is doing, and then move on to another box.

That was a nice little church day yesterday, but now it’s Monday! Okay, here I go with work…oh, Jesus, hey! What are you doing here?

Jesus wants to mix into our boxes. In fact, he frequently asks us to turn our boxes upside down at his feet, surrendering the contents to him. We find that this concept of compartmentalization was entirely our idea- not his.

In Luke 5, Jesus is called upon to teach. He teaches using a lesson based on one man’s day-to-day, stinky, dirty job.

Luk 5:1-11 NIV 1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Jesus literally got into the boats of some fisherman who were wrapping up a hard day’s work. We don’t actually even know what he taught on that day, but we know from this scripture that he changed some lives that day. Three men became disciples. What made them special? They said ‘yes’. They walked in obedience.

Painting of Jesus speaking to Peter in his boat. His net shows very few fish in it.
“So, you’re into…fish?”

When Jesus asked to use their boats- not just to use them but for the men to help him reach the people, they said ‘Yes’. Maybe they were like me sometimes when Jesus gets into “my” business and asks me to surrender a part of my daily life to him. I tend to think or act like, “Okay, fine, Jesus. You can have my boat. Okay? Now, leave me alone, I have nets to mend.” I would never talk to Jesus like that, but I live like that all the time.

Then Jesus keeps pushing. In this case, at the end of their day, Jesus asks Simon to go back to work. Simon is tired. He’s got everything set to go back to work early the next morning. But Jesus is calling Simon to more. He asks Simon to trust him and obey the simple call to action in the moment that could seem so stupid.

We all have the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. The very Spirit of Christ beckons us to more closeness and more fruit. The GivenLife.com theme verse, John 10:10 offers us abundant life in Jesus. The thief is the one who argues, ‘Nah, just keep everything in that box of yours. Why would you want to get your nets back out? It’s time to go eat. Jesus loves you, right? Why would Jesus want you to suffer and waste your time? Let’s go. This can wait.’

Abundant life and the experience of power in our lives requires obedience to the voice of Jesus. Simon surrenders his nets to Jesus’s will. He has a relationship with him in that moment where he tells Jesus how he’s feeling but then says, because you will it…He says ‘Yes’. He goes out into deep water for Jesus. In front of everyone, he goes fishing with a carpenter.

He lands one heck of a catch!

That’s the part that we see in the Bible and think, ‘Man, I wish Jesus would help me land a whopper like that.’ 😒

We see other people who have amazing blessings that we want and let jealousy and regret fill us. That’s not what God is calling us to either. How silly is it that we are there, organizing our piddly little crap in our tiny boxes, all the while resenting that other people have larger boxes with better stuff than us? We need to surrender our boxes to Jesus and let him fill them until they are bursting!

Don’t Settle for Worldly Victory

We can follow this line of thinking. It’s easy for our little human brains to go into this transactional mode and say, “Okay, so I give up a little and then get a lot.” That’s human thinking for you. But it’s also the thief’s voice in our ear that’s trying to keep us from Heavenly riches and exchange them for fish that will eventually be gone, smelling and rotten.

Jesus calls Simon and his friends to more, and he’s calling us to more too. We miss Jesus when we don’t continue to say ‘Yes’. What if we read this scripture and Simon obeyed Jesus up to this point and then said, “See you, Jesus, and thanks for all the fish!” We can see from our current point of view that he would be a fool to be fixated on the heap of fish that he just landed. Simon (Simon Peter) is Peter- the “on this rock, I will build my church” Peter. He had a lot more encounters of power with Jesus waiting for him. In that moment though, Peter was just Simon with two boats full of fish.

Accept Restoration and a Higher Call

Simon is filled with awe and shame at how he doesn’t deserve this miracle in his life. He actually tells Jesus to go away. Can you relate to that? It’s a natural (but unhealthy) tendency to let ourselves languish in shame. We are truly unworthy in the natural world, but we are not merely flesh creatures. We were created and then redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Jesus is calling us worthy. Who are we to tell the King of Kings, “No, Jesus. I know better than you do. I’m actually unworthy. Go away!”

That’s not our job. We have no place telling Jesus that he can’t have us, our boxes of compartmentalization, or the piddly garbage in those boxes. If Jesus says that we are worthy, we need to surrender our pride and accept the higher call on our lives.

Move On to the Next Season

Simon and his buddies don’t just keep fishing. It would be easy for them to believe that apparently, Jesus wanted them to be the world’s best fisherman. Maybe God would bless them with two boats full of fish every night!

Instead, they recognize the pile of fish for what it is: evidence of the glory of Jesus. Jesus is worth pursuing and that means stepping into the next season of life for them. They pull their boats onto shore and follow Jesus to become fishers of men.

It’s important not to let the needs of this world get in the way of a move of Jesus in our lives. Fishers of men make less money than fishers of fish. They ate well and had a blast while they were walking with Jesus, but then Jesus sends them out later with only the clothes on their body and a walking stick.

The season after that? Their Messiah dies. After that? They receive the Holy Spirit and work amazing miracles like Jesus. The season after that? They are persecuted and killed. There are so many ups and downs in life. We need to accept that. We have to know that we are waging war against the forces of darkness and be willing to fight.

The thief wants us to polish our little knick knacks and surrender to him instead of marching into the service of Jesus. Move into the next season of your life. Fight with power on your side. Do the painful thing that is worthwhile. Push your boat back into the water if that’s what Jesus is calling you to next, but also be willing to walk away from that boat if Jesus is calling you to something else next.

How Do I Know What is Next?

Not knowing what is next is totally normal. We are walking in faith. The only answer is connection with Jesus. Keep following his voice. He leads with peace and helps you walk through scary times like we are living through today. It was not easy for Simon to walk away from his job as a fisherman to become a disciple. Simon stepped out in faith to become the Peter he was called to be.

Later, he would step out of a boat and walk on water with Jesus. He started sinking when he took his eyes off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow him and you’ll step into what’s next too.

Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for a new year that we all get to live in. We want to live our best in the new year. We want to glorify you. We want to show your love and awesome power to the world by living excellent lives. We are not worthy in the flesh, but Jesus, you call us worthy. You adopted us into your family and called us sons and daughters and friends. That astounds me, Jesus. Thank you! Whatever you will, God, we are on board for it. We will lay down our fears, our pride, our selfish ambitions. We lay it all at our feet. We want your Kingdom in our lives. Your Kingdom is worth every second of our day and every ounce of energy that you give us. We want your Kingdom to dominate our thoughts and our hearts’ yearnings. We trust you to give us all that we need.

Touch the hurting people in our world. Release our hearts from entanglements of bitterness and pain. We give those to you, Jesus. Thank you for healing our sickness and guiding us when we feel lost. You are our King. We serve you above all else. Lord of Heaven and Earth, we worship you in this new year! Amen.

God of the Universe, we worship you and call all of our bodies and minds into alignment with your Kingdom. Your Kingdom is free of pain. The pain in our bodies and the emotional pain that some of us are experiencing is not of God. We take authority over this pain and command it to leave.

We speak healing into the injured bodies of our brothers and sisters across the globe. Migraines and chronic headaches, back pain, TMJ disorder, menstrual pain, neuralgia, pain after surgery, whatever it is, God, we command it to glorify you: to be healed, leaving the body and spirit free to worship you in wholeness, Jesus.

We also speak healing over the emotions of millions of hurting people in the world, especially each and every hurting person who reads this prayer. Holy Spirit, embrace them with your grace and mercy and love. Heal us with the power of your unconditional love. Help us to know what might be hindering our healing. Help us to let go of our pain and to forgive anyone who has hurt us. You are bigger than pain and bigger than offense, Jesus. Thank you for helping us to become whole again.

Philippians 3:14 KJV I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Father, we lift up these prayers to you:

Thank you for Robin and her daughter in the UK:

A butterfly in Robin's handsThank you for praying for us. Please pray for my daughter to recover from her illness. She has been admitted since last year. Only god can touch my daughter and bless her with a miracle. I plead and beg for I find myself doubting and being scared. I need the Lord to restore my family and bring us back together. My daughter is such a loving, caring and giving child, and seeing her in turmoil and in pain breaks our hearts. She does so much for charities and gives herself to others and now I find the doctors not being able to help. I need God to perform his promise and heal us all as a family. Amen. Thank you

Bless Sharon with favor in the Canadian visa department and with healing:

Please pray that I will get my ten years Canadian visa work permit, permanent residency, and a good job in Canada. I need healing for my heel and knee pain. Also need a closer walk with God. Spiritual and physical healing.

Lord, we pray for Jamie in Columbia, SC:

I very recently began my journey to build a genuine and lasting relationship with God. In the meanwhile I am uncomfortable communicating with God other than to say thanks for my blessings, as I feel asking of Him when I am not fully committed to Him is less than I feel He is worthy of and I can not bring myself to do that.

I have a 1 year old daughter who is my everything. Wednesday morning I am going to court after a lengthy battle (not custody related). I have spent hours preparing for this because of my lack of financial ability to obtain an attorney. This has by far been the most challenging, painful, and frightening experience I’ve ever been through. I have been mentally beat down, legally bullied, and have been stripped of the most important thing to me – my ability to protect my child and provide for her everything she is deserving of. Because the father of my child has a very expensive, very good lawyer he was about to have some very unjust and not in the best interest of our daughter ‘rules’ put into our original court order, limiting my ability to make decisions to protect her from unsafe situations.

I pray that God is with us Wednesday morning. I pray that he is in the heart and mind of the judge, allowing her to see what’s right here, to not be fooled by the trickery or an experienced lawyer. I pray that I am re afforded the ability to protect my daughter, to provide for her properly, to be allowed to give her the best, everything she deserves, and more. I pray that God gives me the strength, wisdom, and clarity to communicate effectively with the judge. I pray that God is with my daughters father and lawyer and puts it in their hearts to put our daughters best interest ahead of her Fathers best interest.

If I knew how to put in to words the extent of my gratitude I would. Thank you, so much.

Heal Glenda’s friend in North Carolina. We agree with her prayer for pain relief.:

My best friend is in the hospital and has been very sick for quite some time. Today she is in a lot of pain due to severe bladder spasms. She has Calciphylaxsis which can cause tissue to die. She has had surgery on both hips to remove dead tissue. Things are beginning to heal, but she is still dealing with so much pain. Please join me in my prayer that God touch her and heal her body and ease the awful pain. Thank you all and I ask that God richly bless each and every one of you in a very special way.

God, I pray that the power that you sent in healing my depression and bipolar disorder would rain down on Marian right now. Heal her mental and physical pains, Holy Spirit:

I’m Marian and I’m suffering from severe depression. I need prayerful brothers and sisters to help me. Please ask God to send guardian angels and Jesus to lift the burdens from me. Please. I also hurt from severe pain. Pray that the doctor can give me the best medication. Amen! Thank You

Heal Rick in Alabama:

In terrible pain from a collapsed disc low in my neck. Losing use of left hand. Haven’t slept more that 3 hours a night in 6 weeks.

We lift up Henry’s prayer request from Tennessee for his daughter:

This prayer is for my daughters weak spirit whom is sick from chemical imbalance and also suffers from depression and a periodic addiction. She is suffering tremendously. The state has taken one of her children and now trying to get the other. She is pregnant and has sought help and there is trouble for her there as well in fear of them taking that child as well. There is much spiritual pain. I hurt for her and my grandbabies. God’s intervention is desperately needed to save her from this agony along with the children. She does love them and tries very hard to care for their needs. Her sickness is strong and her light is dim. God please save them. Make her strong and victorious through the blood of Christ. Help her to fight off these demons. I pray my daughter be restored and her children returned. Through Christ precious name Amen

Thank you for providing for Grace and her family:

The bank wants to repossess my house though I have been paying the agreed amount. I am scared to live in the street with 4 children. I am a faithful tither.
I have tried to arrange with them but they declined my proposal. Please help.

From Johannesburg, South Africa to New York City in the USA, from Zimbabwe to New Zealand, Lord, you know the needs brought to you in private prayer requests. We trust you and your plan for our lives. We love you Jesus!

God, sometimes it seems very difficult to know the difference between judgment and discernment. Help us to know the difference…

Matthew 7:1 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Romans 12:2 KJV And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Those two ideas: not judgment, but knowing the difference between what is good and what is not, seem contrary at times. But Holy Spirit, I know they’re not. You know my heart (1 Samuel 16:7). My heart knows your truth. Your truth is inside me.

Your love has filled me to overflowing. I know what your love is like. Help me to look at every situation through the lens of your love. Then I will know my motives. If I am looking at a person and come to the conclusion that they are unworthy or undeserving of anything but the best that you have to offer, Jesus, then I will know that my motives are not pure. Please purge those impure motives from my heart and thoughts, Holy Spirit.

Instead, let me plainly see the world. Let me see what glorifies you and what doesn’t. Let me see my words and actions with sound judgment, but when it comes to others, help me to worry about myself and to only walk in discernment to protect my heart from the things that don’t glorify you.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for walking with these people and meeting their needs…

We lift up this anonymous prayer request to you, God:

Please help pray that God help my dad reflect and be kind, my mum be humble and me honour my parents and never to judge/be impatient. And for a personal miracle needed badly too. Thanks.

Thank you for Hope, Lord. Send her the husband that she desires, and in the meantime, thank you for being her comfort:

Pray that God sends me a husband and that were equally yoked and we are very fond of reach other I form a relationship very soon and he works and he is a gentleman and don’t judge me for my past and that God gives me confirmation that he will do this. It says in his word, “Ask and you shall receive.” Please keep this in prayer. I’m very lonely.

Father, thank you for the plan that you have for Marlo’s life. Bless her financially, and help her to get into a new home soon:

I’m homeless. I go up for rapid refund housing on December 4th. I have a judgment on my credit report. I need all the paper work for the interview.

Bless C, Father. Set her free from the bondage of addiction and the problems that have come with it:

Huge financial problems created by long-term addiction. Have asked everyone I know for help getting back on my feet, but have only received judgment and condemnation. Don’t want my depression and stress over the situation to lead to a relapse. Want God to restore my finances, health, wasted years, and dreams for my life.

Bless Dan, his prayer meeting, and his church:

I am leading a new church prayer meeting and really trying to fight for the land that God has given us. Please pray for continued wisdom and direction as I lead the prayer meeting. Please pray for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a passion to fight for victory. Please pray for me individually that God would give me wisdom and discernment and the fruit of the Holy Spirit through this challenging season.

We lift up Earl’s prayer request from Washington D.C.:

God in Jesus name by the power of the blood that was shed on the cross please protect me from all negative forces that are trying to come to destroy the in my life: emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Lord please remove all the barriers and hindrances that is preventing me from having a happy, productive, and prosperous life. Lord please bless everyone I come in contact with; peace, love, joy, happiness, grace, mercy, strength, good health, prosperity, discernment, motivation, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bless L, Jesus:

I pray I would be blessed to be completely pay off and be out of debt before the years end. I pray for my business to prosper and to do well in school. I pray for wisdom and discernment in financial matters. I pray to be financially settled so we can get married and have a family.

Bless Wanda:

God, please let me have an amazing day today. Amen

Bring companionship into this person’s life, Lord:

Dear God please hear my prayers and help me. I am tired of being alone. I am 36 and will be 37 in a few weeks. I am want T in my life God. Please intercede and help me. God Bless.

We also lift up the private prayer requests from around the globe, including India, Hungary, the Philippines, in the United States of America in California, Georgia, Long Island, Texas, and other areas. Bless these people, Jesus. Thank you, Lord.

Jesus, thank you for coming to this world to save us all…

1 Timothy 1:15 GNB This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them…

When we come together to pray for sinners, we’re really praying for the members of our body who are just like us, but who haven’t yet found the truth of their need for a Savior. We’re all sinners. We’ve sinned against you in the past, Father, and we fall short of your glory (Romans 3:23) on a daily basis. We confess that to you freely, Lord, and thank you for your mercy.

Today, God, we ask for that same mercy on our friends and family who do not know you; who don’t know Jesus as their Savior. Holy Spirit, work in their hearts. Soften them and expose the aching hole that only you can fill. Orchestrate their lives to bring them to a point of contrition at the same time that they encounter your unconditional love. Help them to see the beauty that is inherent in the love their Creator has for his creation, and how we can find fulfillment in living to be the best us that created us to be.

I lived for years trying to play the World’s game. I fought, bled, cried, and felt defeated trying to win a trophy life only to realize that my focus was completely misplaced. I know people who are living under the same deception, Lord. Help them to see the truth, Holy Spirit, that our life’s circumstances are meaningless compared to an eternity that we’re spending with you. Without you, we’re lost. We’re sinners who will be punished on the day of judgment unless we receive your righteousness, Jesus. Bring my friends into the body of Christ, Lord.

Father, thank you for these people across the world. Thank you for hearing our prayers each and every time that we come to you:

Be with Lily and her husband in Canada as you work in her husband’s heart:

Please Lord, help my husband who is addicted to sex, gambling, and drugs. Free him from these additions and save him.

Thank you for Cathy’s prayer request:

Family member without heat. Making a decision about job transfer. Thanks a day God bless!

Father, thank you for Wanda’s faith and dedication to prayer. Thank you for being her provider:

Good morning God. Once again, I thank You for another day. I am going to have an amazing day at work today. I will book 12 or more and reach my goals. I know You area with me and that You will protect me and provide. Amen

Thank you for being there for Darlene in South Africa:

I pray that the peace of God rests upon me and God gives me favour with my boss and in my work.

We lift up Carla, her brother and family in New Jersey:

I pray and it hurts to see someone go to jail. I ask please pray for my brother who had kids with a lady and now she’s making him go to court. It’s not fair on his part he got to go to court like February 17 or 18. He been working, doing his best to work it out to receive more money for child support. My brother never expect that it’s going to be child support and then go to court. We are trying to be believers. He needs prayer so he won’t go to jail. His birthday just past.

Lord, bring healing to this situation. Thank you for being her brother’s provider so he can take care of his kids and not have to go to jail.

We lift up this anonymous prayer request. Father, bring comfort to our brother. You know his heart’s desire:

Thank you for the small interaction I had with T God. Please God intercede and let me see her soon or for her to contact me soon. Please let us connect, become friends and have a relationship. Please let me have some peace and happiness in my life. Amen.

Thank you for Willis and his family in the Bahamas:

Please pray that God would cover and protect my family and I; that he would quickly send the finances that we need.

Thank you for our sister, Yvette in the United States of America, and for protecting and encouraging her son:

Son in the military – feeling very discouraged & unhappy. Pray that his relationship with the Lord is renewed & strengthened. That he receives insight into his future plans & in the meantime he enjoys the rest of his time in the service. That he acquires a positive attitude & outlook on life. That he is blessed.

Father, open the resources of Heaven to Maureen. Meet her need and then some!

Our orphanage for disabled children and Special Ed school in Chimaltenango, Guatemala needs $10,000 in the bank by Mar 1, 2015. We have been praying and $3800 came in, Hallelujah!! Please pray with us until the $6200 we still need comes in ON TIME!!

Our God is faithful to completely answer our prayers and to fully meet our needs!!!

We lift up this anonymous prayer request from India:

I am sending this prayer request for my brother Rajukumar who is unconscious because of addiction problem to alcohol & liver problem. I request you to please pray for him to come into consciousness. I beg you guys to pray for his wellness. Thank you

We lift up this prayer request from Savithree in South Africa, Lord:

Please pray for a miraculous healing for Prahalad from cancer.

Yes, Lord. We command the cancer to leave Prahalad right now!

We join our sister, Clair, in England in her prayer for Charlie:

Please pray for Charlie, for his happiness and healing. Please pray that those who hurt him will be prevented from hurting any other in like manner.

Bring healing to JW’s relationship, Holy Spirit:

I lost the woman that was one of the greatest gifts in my life. She walked out and I am not sure what all she is going through currently as she is not speaking with me. Please pray that she finds Hope, Grace, Love and Wisdom of Jesus to pull her through this time in her life. Also pray that God does what he needs to within me. I hope we some how through the Grace of Jesus are able to reconcile our relationship. In Jesus name I pray! Amen

We pray healing over K in Jamaica:

I need prayer for healing from cancer for a successful surgery and post surgery treatment with very little effects on my daily life that I won’t suffer the usual side effects. Please pray that I live for many more years cancer free and healthy and that God will be glorified by this experience and for my family and friends.

Heal this marriage, Lord. Knock this husband upside the head and make him faithful and loving:

Please pray for my husband and I. He is cheating on me again and I just can’t imagine how to handle it. He says he’s probably going to leave. I just can’t imagine how to live without him, the pain is unbearable. Please pray for us. Thank you.

Thank you for providing for Gerald’s prayer request from Qatar:

My ancestral house in India is very old and is in very bad shape. I have no money either to buy a new house or to maintain the present house. Request your sincere prayers to our Lord to give me the grace and blessings to provide a dwelling for me and my family.

We also lift up the many more private prayer request that were sent. You know who these brothers and sisters are, Lord. Thank you for being there for them. We love you, Jesus.