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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Something Fishy (Angel in the Kitchen)

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“And then I whipped the shark’s butt with both fins behind my back!”

Any of this sound familiar? “He’s a good catch”; “That story had me hooked from the very first sentence”; “She’s not the only fish in the ocean”; “I’ll let you off the hook.” There are numerous expressions that liken people to fish. It’s a good analogy because we have a lot in common with our finny friends. Think about some of the people you know: there are “pufferfish” who like to boast, “eels” who are downright slimy, and even the occasional “shark” we have to watch out for. Some of us may feel like we’ve reached the big ocean, while some of us feel like we’re “living in a fishbowl.” And some of us benefit every day from life in a “freshwater” environment, while some of us may be floundering in a dirty pool.

Jesus Christ was the first to liken people to fish. He told His disciples, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 NASB) His use of the analogy demonstrates how well the Lord understands us: fish tend to do their own thing, and catching one can be very difficult. That describes us all.

Furthermore, a good fisherman must hook or net a fish just as he finds it — slippery and scaly, thrashing and splashing; It’s only after he lands it that he begins to clean it. And he definitely needs to clean it, because fish, left the way they naturally exist, are always a little smelly. The process perfectly describes what Christ does: He receives each of us just as we are, but because of His Love for us, because of His desire that each of us becomes the best we can be, He “cleans” everyone He catches. And, you guessed it, cleaning us is not much different from cleaning a fish!

Here’s the first step in the process necessary to prepare a “fish” for the table of life.

A good cook does several things to make a fish appealing, appetizing and flavorful, but first, the fish needs to be washed. The Bible teaches us that we “fish” can be washed by the Blood of the Lamb. (Hebrews 10:22 NLT; Revelation 7:14) This is the blood Christ shed when He was crucified. The blood, once we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, cleanses us of all unrighteousness, including our past mistakes, and the guilt that often accompanies those mistakes — all that pond scum that makes us smell and holds us back in life. “But if we walk in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NLT)

Smelling a bit fishy today? Have you been floundering in a dirty tank? Are you swimming wherever the currents carry you? Tomorrow we’ll discuss the next step in preparing a fish, but today we would like to invite you to swim into the net of Jesus Christ; to stop treading water and jump into the boat. (We promise that no one will try to serve you up for dinner!)

If you want to swim with the rest of us, then read Romans 10:9 and follow the directions. Or click here.

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