A Fish Out Of Water (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Previously: We’ve been using the analogy of fish and fishing to describe our relationship with Christ: first, we swim into His net, just as we are (a bit fishy); afterwards, Christ begins to clean us like a fisherman cleans his prize catch.

Preparing a “fish”:

Step 1: Wash it (“Something Fishy”)

Step 2: Cut off the head! (Part 1: “Cleaning Fish”)

Step 2, Part 2: “A Fish Out of Water”

Cut off the head? For a fish, literally; for us, figuratively. For us, the head represents our thoughts and our perspective. As far as our perspective of life, we need to start seeing our lives, other people and all things, as God sees them. We must adopt a Judeo-Christian worldview; stop thinking the way the secular world thinks and start thinking the way God desires us. For instance, this world teaches that we need to look a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way, have a certain amount of money and move in certain social circles; and some people think that to truly have value, we need to be a certain color, or a certain gender, or belong to a certain fraternity, club, denomination, church … we could go on and on. But what does God think?

On the value of each of us, God wants you to be able to declare: “Thank You (God) for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it! (Psalm 139:14 NLT) But exactly how will we know it? On acceptance, God declares: “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” (Romans 15:7 NLT)

Again, how can we know such awesome things? We won’t unless we dive into the Word of God. And dive is the perfect word for us “fishes,” because the Holy Scriptures are frequently compared to water. Water cleanses, refreshes, and sustains us, just like God’s Word — if we let it! Which takes us back to the head: are we allowing God to cleanse our thoughts by “washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:26 NIV)? The Bible teaches that after we come to Christ we must renew (reprogram, refresh, and replenish) our minds daily!

This is a never-ending process. Medical doctors state that, in order to be healthy, we need to drink a sufficient amount of water each day. Similarly, to keep our sanity in this crazy, competitive, often chaotic great big world of ours, we need to daily flush out our “stinking thinking” (doubt, fear, hatred, selfishness, and all the other negative thoughts that normally and naturally swim in our heads) with positive, faith-filled thoughts. Easy, right? No way! We’re constantly bombarded with negative thoughts, from the things we read, hear, and see. Flushing out the bad stuff takes a steady flow of the good stuff, the water of the Word. Read it and ruminate on it, remember it and remind yourself of it.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Here’s another way of putting it: “Don’t become like the people of this world. [pessimistic, cruel, critical, spiteful, etc.] Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants — what is good, pleasing, and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 God’s Word Translation)

Swim in the Word of God. Frolic and bathe in it! Lest you become like a fish out of water!

Tomorrow: “Get Rid of the Tail”

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Cleaning Fish (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Previously: By using the analogy of fishing, Jesus Christ demonstrated how well He understands us: like fish, people tend to do their own thing, and catching one can be difficult. And, our Savior, like a good fisherman, hooks or nets us just as we are: slippery, sometimes slimy, and always stinky — just like real fish! After all, you can’t clean a fish BEFORE you catch it! So Christ receives each of us just as we are, with all our faults, all our baggage; but because He wants us to become the best we can be, He “cleans” everyone He catches. And cleaning us is not much different from cleaning a fish!

Whaddya mean, I don’t look yummy yet?

After washing, the next step in preparing a fish for the table of life is to  CUT OFF THE HEAD! Yikes! But it’s not as bad as it sounds. The head represents the mind, and specifically, how we think and what we think.  And, as Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism stated, “The mind is everything; What you think, you become.”  Of course, there’s some skepticism as to whether Buddha actually did say this; but if he did, he was simply re-stating one of our favorite Bible verses, written at least two centuries before Buddha was born: “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV)

So apparently, it’s not the clothes that make the man, but rather his thoughts. (Or her thoughts; we’re certainly not chauvinistic.) And, unlike that credit card commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” the more pressing question is, what’s in your head ? Wait, don’t answer that!

“Hey, Mac, how ya feeling?” “Like a fish out of water, Fin. How ’bout you?”

Let’s return to cleaning a fish. Imagine: the catch of the day is lying there on your cutting board, that blank expression, that gaping mouth that doesn’t say anything, that cold, dead eye staring back at you. Yuck. No one at your table will want to see that, so the first thing you do is remove the head. Well, God sort of does the same with each of us. Not literally, of course, but He gives us something far more pleasing, “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), transforming our lifeless, “fishy” countenances. God puts the sparkle of hope into our “dead” eyes; and we go from “gaping and speechless” to the sudden realization that God has given us a hope and a future and a purpose. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Each of us goes from being just a helpless creature on the cutting board of life, to becoming a wonderful and beneficial new creation“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

Can Jesus Christ cook, or can He COOK? He takes someone with a fishy past and transforms him or her into a pièce de résistance! Gourmet all the way!

Please join us Monday for Part 3: A Fish Out of Water!

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