Something Fishy (Angel in the Kitchen)

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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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The Curious Case of the Neglected Novel (Encouragement for Creators)

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She loved apples, playing the piano, and a good game of golf. Mostly, however, she loved writing. She wrote in the bathtub, on the washstand, at the dining room table — and when she spent time in the Middle East, she wrote on a makeshift table of boards and packing crates. For decades she averaged two novels a year, writing them longhand at first, but eventually using a typewriter. She’s the greatest mystery writer of all time, producing 78 detective novels, over 100 short stories, and 19 plays, including Mousetrap — the world’s longest-running play, which opened in London’s West End in 1952 and is still running today after more than 25,000 performances. Most of her books and short stories have been adapted for television and feature films. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she’s the best-selling novelist of all time. Her work has been translated into over a hundred languages, making her the single most-translated author; and her books have sold over two billion copies. Only the Bible and Shakespeare have outsold her.

— All these accomplishments because Agatha Christie persevered. She refused to take “no” for an answer.

Dame Agatha Christie was born in 1890, in the Devon coast town of Torquay. She grew up with a passion for detective novels. She devoured the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and such novels as Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and The Moonstone. One day, Agatha’s sister challenged her to write a mystery novel of her own. Agatha produced her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Over the next four years Agatha tried repeatedly to find a home for her book. Not one publisher took even the slightest interest in her manuscript. One account states the author received close to 500 rejections during this time. The mystery novelist was about to forever change the rules of detective fiction — it’s just that no one realized it at the time.

In 1920, the publishing company Bodley Head showed genuine interest in Agatha’s novel. The editor John Lane eventually offered the young writer a contract, after procrastinating for close to a year. He asked Agatha to change the ending — which she promptly did — and then paid her a mere £25. So, five years after Agatha finished The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the novel that launched the career of the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot finally saw print.

“My little grey cells do not stop at NO.”

Agatha Christie was on her way. A few years later she published And Then There Were None, also known as Ten Little Indians, and the basis for several movies and TV shows. To date, the book has sold over 100 million copies, making it the world’s best-selling mystery — ever!

Don’t stop at “No”! Keep trying. Rejection is one of life’s great mysteries. We may not always understand it, but we all have to endure it.

“Trust in the Lord and do good…. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this…. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him….” (Psalm 37:3-7 NIV)

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