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"I will quieten you with my love and rejoice over you with singing." --Zephaniah 3:17

 

Jesus spoke after I had been fighting with my husband.  What I did not realize was how it would revolutionize my heart for evangelism and teach me the Fishy Song!

It was not unusual for me to think the worst of his beautiful heart and accuse him before the Lord intervened that day.  I was sorry, but the damage had been done.  I had wounded him again.  I decided to go outside and sit by the fire pit sans flame.  My shame was hot enough.  While my feet were up, I waited on the Lord and it wasn’t long before He whispered, “You don’t sing in harmony with Me.”  Jesus spoke Zephaniah 3:17 to my mind, “I will quieten you with my love and rejoice over you with singing.”

The scriptures began to knit through my soul as if by a master weaver on a fast moving loom - correcting and teaching as He spoke.

Tyrelle, I spoke words to create your husband, My son.  Out of the abundance of My heart, My mouth spoke.  My heart is pure, powerful, beautiful, wondrous and fully and completely love.  I speak only what is good and declare only what is right (Is. 45:19)  I decided long ago what I wanted My son to be and he is good.  He is the overflow of My heart.   I can not speak anything bad or wrong for there is none of that within My being.  I do not speak anything I do not desire to say.  I have planned every word from the beginning of time and have fashioned countless realities.  Your husband is a treasured word, a treasured name and I rejoice over him.  My word does not return to me void, it is eternal therefore He is eternal and I wanted him forever.  I am not a man that I should lie or the son of man that I should change my mind about him.  I spoke and I acted and I said and I made it good.  I rejoice over the work of my hands.  Sing in harmony with me.

He opened my mind to understand.  His words did not just create the world but also the man I love.  They were perfect words.  And The Lord was singing.

He showed me a melody joined in harmony by another.   When one voice sings out of tune or time, everyone feels it and the beauty is interrupted and everyone who hears it feels the awkwardness of the moment.  But when the song is resumed, the beauty flows once again as it should.

My words and views would come out of my heart and sing a song that was not reflective of the One who had invited me to live a life of harmony with Him.  With the revelation that my husband was words from His perfect heart, I could no longer accuse or show him less value than God who spoke only the words He wanted to create this eternal being.  

It only took moments to realize each person is eternal, created by an eternal Father with eternal words.  They would live eternally in Heaven or eternally in Hell.   When I share Jesus Christ, I carry with me the revelation that they are His living words spoken with love out of the abundance of His heart.  I release His unconditional love  Their walls melt like wax in the presence of the Lord they are quieted in His love.  

As I sing His song with Him, the fishies swim into the eternal nets of Jesus’ arms.   Without love, the song it is nothing.  With His love, it will never fail.  Fishies love the fishy song and I love to sing it.  Here fishy, fishy, fishy!

Evangelism and JusticeA ping pong ball goes bounces back and forth across the table batted by two eager paddles vying for victory, only I am the ball.  I bounce daily, weekly and seasonally between two callings; preaching the gospel and justice for those who have been sex-trafficked.  

Isaiah, the prophet, said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign God is upon me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free." (Isaiah 61:1)  The same Spirit that anoints us to share Christ everywhere we go is the same Spirit that also anoints us to set captives free and heal their hearts.

At times, I long to rest quietly at one end of the table, preferably the evangelism end.  If I had to choose a mountain to die on, it would be that one.  Souls safe in their Father’s arms for all eternity and the Father overjoyed to have them within His dwelling.  Forever safe from hell.

But then, those who are living in hell made by man, are ever in the heart of the Father also.  Righteousness and justice are the foundations of His throne.  He gives us His righteousness but then expects us to participate with Him in justice.  Justice is simply this- loving your neighbor as yourself.  Injustice is man participating with Satan and filling the earth with hell.  Malachi the prophet speaks for God saying, “You have wearied the Lord with your words…. By saying….. Where is the God of Justice?”  God is there, but he has given us  the task to:

seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow (Is. 1:17 NRSV)

Am I not compelled to fish for those as well?  

God has given us all that we need to bring justice.  But the thing that stops us most is fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of a lack of finances, fear that we will be put to shame when we try and fail which we probably will a few times, and fear of not knowing how.  Our God can overcome all of these obstacles, even if we are not.  International Justice Mission describes it this way.  It is like a Father and child who need to bring in the luggage.  The child says, “I can’t carry the heavy ones!”  The Father replies, “Carry in the ones you can, and I will take in the rest.”

And see to it they are also delivered from a horrendous and torturous hell?  I wish I could leave it.  I wish I did not have to do these things in my heart.  But the only other option is disobedience.  I know that we are to serve the Lord with gladness, but the problem is not as thrilling to solve as souls getting saved and angels rejoicing in Heaven over one saved sinner.  But is there really less rejoicing over one trafficked person rescued, healed or delivered?  Of course not.  And this is where our gladness must come from.  The joy of making God joyful at one little girl rescued, or one bonded slave or shrimp fisherman set free.  Is it not also salvation?

First Thessalonians 5:23,24 remind us that God wants to set us apart spirit, soul, and body.  Jesus died for our souls to be healed, our spirit to come alive and our body to be healed.  Isaiah 61 also describes the anointing and gospel is for the body to set captives free, the spirit to be alive through the preaching of the good news and the soul to be bound up and healed after it’s been broken.  Physical freedom is the salvation of body and ought not to be separated from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So it must be that I and many others will ping and pong across the table between the paddles of preaching the good news and setting the captives free.  I must remove the net dividing the table.  There is only one wonderful saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is for the whole tri-part person, and it is a joy to play the table.

Which cause are you drawn to the most in your life?

--TC Smith

 

“I still have many things  to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13 ESV)

 

Interestingly, Jesus did not promise that we would be catchers of men but fishers of men!  This is an important concept if we are going to understand what success is.  There are times when we catch and times when we wait in the boat with our Father just like when we were kids.  The catching is exciting and the waiting difficult. But the worst day fishing with your dad is still better than a regular day not fishing.

Last week I was at a hospital with one of my kids.  I needed to fill a prescription for him for a tooth infection.  While I was handing over the doctor’s note to the pharmacist, a young man sat down.  He was red-faced from crying.  I felt Jesus move with compassion inside me.  His heart ached for the young man.  So, I asked the young man, “Are you okay?” and he responded emphatically that he was not.

I sat down immediately and put my arms around him and hugged him tightly.  He hugged me back hard and cried.  I rubbed his back and mothered him, telling him everything was going to be okay.  I knew this to be true because I sensed the Holy Spirit say so.  I asked his name and shared mine. We had the same last name which was perfect for mothering.  His story began to spill out that he had received an incurable infection from his partner which also revealed that his partner had been unfaithful.  He was completely devastated.

I said, “Sweetie, if I threw a twenty dollar bill on the floor and stepped on it, how much would it be worth at the till?”

He replied, “Twenty dollars.”

“Right!  What if I crumpled it, or spat on it?  What would it be worth at the till?”

He said, “Twenty dollars.”

People are still valuable when they are mistreated.

God’s Spirit began to reach him with truth, “Sweetie, your worth and value does not change based on how others treat you, by your mistakes in judgment or sin. You worth is based on the fact that God made you and loves you very much.  This is non-negotiable.  Value is also based on two other things.  First, is rarity.  There has never been another one of you or ever will be ever again.  You are rare and valuable and the only representation of God’s image in this particular likeness to be on the earth in history.  Secondly, worth is based on what someone is willing to pay for it.  Honey, you were paid for with blood.  Jesus’ blood.  He died for your sins so that you could live forever with Him and your Heavenly Father by removing the offending sin between you.  Do you know who Jesus is?”

“Yes, my whole family prays.”  I was surprised and yet not.  So much compromise has filled the church and the world. Never before had I wanted to set everything in order in one short conversation.  I wanted to put every puzzle piece of life in place with one short conversation.  After all, this was wrong.  I knew the answers-I could fix this!  But God’s precious Spirit reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a friend.  She told me of a new believer she knew had been attending church for about 6 months and one day rushed into the pastor's office aghast at a new revelation from God’s word saying, “Pastor, did you know that pornography is wrong?”  To the pastor’s credit, he kept his face passive and welcoming, “Yes, actually I did.  Tell me how you came to find this out”

With shock he said, “I was reading my bible and the Holy Spirit pointed out the verse that to look at a woman lustfully was the same as committing adultery so I asked my wife if that’s how she felt when I watched porn and she told me yes!  I can’t look at porn now! That’s wrong!” (Matt 5:28)

The pastor was pleased, to say the least!  This is a picture of where things are at right now in society.  Like Nineveh - some do not know their right hand from their left.  But God is still moving by His Holy Spirit, leading people into all truth, even on things we think they know but don’t.

This story flashed through my mind, I knew that the Holy Spirit was saying that this young man was traumatized and would not be able to receive correction about his choices.  Today he was bleeding out and Jesus wanted to stop it and keep this young man from making the ultimate decision to end his life due to the pain, hopelessness and confusion he was experiencing.

God reminded me also of Jesus who said to His own disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13 ESV) Even Jesus could not put all the puzzle pieces together when He wanted to.  He had to leave it to the Holy Spirit for later when they could bear it.

God had this same strategy for the young man and I said, “Sweetie, you have a lot of decisions to make based on what has happened and you will need to put some boundaries in place based on your worth and value.  You also need to get back into God’s word.  It will help with your new decisions and know the Lord better.  But before you even open your bible, ask the Holy Spirit to come and teach you the word.”  He agreed and cried as I held him in God’s consoling love.  I knew that his life was safe and God would begin to move on His word to show this young man the right way to go, away from premarital sex and homosexuality.

We prayed together for his life and then God spoke to my heart, “He hasn’t been to church for a long time.”  So I said, “Honey, God says you haven’t been in church for a long time.  It’s time to go back.”  I had to trust the Lord that he would one day walk into a pastor’s office declaring that he knew what was right and wrong because of God’s Holy Spirit.

I wanted to lead him in a recommitment prayer.  I wanted to tell him so much and put all the pieces into the right places and fix everything at once.  I hated not having the conversation I really wanted to have.  But I love Holy Spirit and His wisdom and timing.  I had to wait until he could bear it.  Love is patient and kind.  It believes and it endures, even the waiting.

Today fishing was not catching.  Today fishing was waiting for the fish to be a little hungrier, a little more ready.  Today, fishing with My Father in Heaven was waiting in the boat and loving.  One day soon, another fisher of men will come and that fish will be ready.  Today, waiting in the boat with My Father was still better than a day doing anything else.

 

--TC

 

 

Every evangelist thrives on the rush of adrenaline that comes with the gusting wind of the Holy Spirit snaps our sails and suddenly we are moving toward the fish God is prepared for us to catch.

I recently went into a shop and saw a young lady. I immediately felt the love of Jesus crash over my soul and I smiled!  I began to pray because 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age (the devil) has blinded their hearts and minds from receiving the true light of the gospel.”  I bind the enemy from influencing her and I call on the Lord to release Holy Spirit to declare Jesus Christ and lead and guide her into all truth!  

I feel His pleasure as I ask Him to draw her to Jesus!  He began to radiate His pleasure in this precious one He created.  I sensed Him picking her up on His lap and before I knew it, her story began to unfold and Jesus and I were doing my favourite thing in the whole world-fishing!

Laced within her story, we're gorgeous F-bombs, S-bombs and other four letter words.  I could feel my Father beaming with joy over her value, nodding His appreciation over His handiwork, nodding as if to say, “Do you see her?  Isn’t she amazing?”  To which my soul nods in smiling agreement, “Oh Yeah!” and like any true fisherman, I added, “She’s a beauty!”

 

Soon she begins asking me all about God and how she can know Jesus. She'd been googling how to "Do this God thing right. After all, it's like a marriage!” She said, “This is a lifetime commitment, ya know!?!”  

Ya, I did know. It was at lifetime commitment that caused me to keep my sails up and ready, because my God turns fish into sheep and sheep into lions.  But always – the fish come first!

She continue to talk and her speech continue to be peppered with still more four lettered words – my favourite words!  $&@#!  

You see, when you’re catching a fish and it's coming out of its life in the water it gasps as it changes environments and atmospheres. It's body flips, flops and fights indicating it's need saying, “Help, I need something here, something is wrong! I'm hurting, I'm dying!”

The four letter words are indicators of what is impacting them as they enter the atmosphere change of our God’s affirming, loving and peaceful presence. They are safe enough to indicate their struggle and that they are simply fighting for life. The authenticity in their language shows me where the Holy Spirit wants to touch, restore, forgive, heal or change. He releases His wisdom and declares who Christ is and can be in their life because He intends to release love into their gasping and desperate being.

In only moments, when they surrender to being caught in the loving nets of Christ – they are changed into sheep by the Lord and they soon breathe with new life in the atmosphere they were meant to as sheep!

He loves fish, He loves sheep and has destined even these gasping, four letter word spewing fishies to one day become a glorious lions who will expand His territory through his authority, power and love to other gasping and writhing fish. They will stand there one day with the Lord like I am, smiling and saying like a true fisherman "Yeah! She's a beauty!”

I love fishing!  So does He!  What a day!

--TC