Eyes and Hands that See and Understand by Jo Russell

As Marnie walked along the path at the park with her two dogs, a couple of pre-teen boys slowly came toward them. One limped, but held the other boy’s arm tightly, keeping him safe while coaching him on where to feel with his cane. The second boy could not see except with his hands. His friend, Jack, had physical problems, too, but could see well and was a protector.  “Look and listen ahead, Bobby. There are two dogs on the path.”

Marnie stopped her dogs, had them sit and waited for the boys to come closer. “You can pet them if you want to. They are friendly.”

Bobby bent down and touched one curly small dog and then Jack petted her. Bobby reached out for the other pet while Marnie explained, “That one’s a hound dog. You have your hand on his neck.”

“I’ve never seen a hound dog before!” the blind boy responded with excitement.

“Then you just have to pet him all over. Try feeling those ears. They are as long as his face.”

“Yeah! I see that! Is the crusty stuff on the ends mud?”

“Nope. He just helped too much when I was painting inside yesterday. It’s on his tail, too.  You’ve got to feel his tail.”

“It curves up!”

“Yep! Like a CB antenna. My son said his tail wagging all the time when he walks means he can use the call letters Basset, Basset, one-niner, one-niner!”

Then Bobby stroked the long dog’s body and smiled. “I really have seen a hound dog now! Long ears! A fat neck! A tail like a broomstick! A very long body! He feels shiny.”

That’s when the hound howled with appreciation. Bobby and Jack burst out in laughter. “I never heard any dog make that noise!”

“Now you really have seen and heard a hound dog!” Marnie echoed the boys’ excitement. She got a kick out of Bobby, who was blind, using the word “see” so much in his conversation.

Jesus taught with parables and would conclude with an appeal to the senses, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” [Mark 4:9] and to his disciples, “Do you have eyes, but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?” [Mark 8:18.] At that point, they had seen many miracles, heard Jesus’ parables, and had been walking and living beside him for much time. Still, they did not understand. Someday, they would.

Paul writes, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12]

It’s a matter of keeping the faith. Someday, Bobby will see everything, including a Basset hound. For now, he is excited to see the dog with his hands.

Someday, we will see, hear, and understand God’s perspective. In the meantime, it is our job to keep learning, growing and studying with Him. Enjoy the journey and the sights along the way!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

Who is Rich in God’s Eyes? by Jo Russell

Step back in time to a different era when struggling families made ends meet with one paycheck, a milk and cookies mom at home after school for the kids. It was a time when single-car garages and carports were all anyone needed.

Seven-year-old Jacqueline tagged along with her mother and sister as they walked a few blocks away to eat lunch with Mrs. Haines and to play with her kids.

“Jacqueline, please go help Mrs. Haines in the kitchen with lunch while the kids and I set the table,” Her mom commanded.

Jackie did. She was amazed that the toast Mrs. Haines gave her was golden brown. As the girl spread butter over the slice, she noticed it didn’t have one speck of black on it. Her mom usually scraped the black off the bread if the toaster stuck on high and overcooked it. But her family would eat it anyway, spreading it with lots of fruit jam so it tasted good. Toast with no black! Golly!

After a hot lunch of meatloaf with carrots and toast, the ladies sent the children to play together upstairs. That’s when Jackie saw a sight that left her astonished: a television set in the bedroom. I saw one downstairs, too. That means they have too televisions!

Later when Jackie, her brothers and mom walked a few blocks home, Jackie was quiet.

“What is it, Sweetie?”

“Mom, it’s about the Haines. Their toast doesn’t burn in the toaster. They don’t scrape the bread like we do. They have two televisions, too.” She paused before asking, “Are they rich?”

“No. I think they saved the old TV when they got another one.”

“Then are we poor?”

“Of course not! We always have food to eat, the car runs, we have furniture and a house, Dad works hard and we get to go on summer camping vacations. God takes care of us every day.”

“If we’re not rich and not poor, why don’t we have two televisions?”

Good question. Today, having multiple electronic devices and computers, as many phones as people in the house, and a second car in the driveway is a common lifestyle. But milk and cookies moms who are home with the kids in lieu of these luxuries is rare indeed.

Jesus said much about asking for needs. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who weeks find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” [Matthew 7:7-11]

Though God may give us a surprise in something on our wish list, the most lasting one is the relationship with Jesus. How soon does our excitement about a new purchase fade? His life with us is rich, and he doesn’t even need two televisions!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now  on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

Communication Problems? Not with God by Jo Russell

Three college students performing a skit during a beginning language class took their places on stage. It was week four, but their skill level was shaky as the scene opened with the three talking together at a grocery store. The dialogue was in Spanish.

A few lines into the skit, one player rubbed her tummy, looked at the audience and slowly pronounced the words “Tengo hambre.” [I am hungry]. Instead, Sherry’s words came out as “Tengo hombre.”

That’s when the skit came to a dead halt. The students on stage smirked and those in the audience laughed out loud and kept laughing. She looked at the other players and asked, “Qué?” She didn’t have a clue why the skit stopped and everyone was laughing.

A tall young man in the skit pulled her backstage and whispered in English, “You didn’t say, ‘I am hungry’ or ‘I want hunger.’ What you did say was ‘I want a man.’” The single coed blushed as he continued, “That’s the difference between hambre and hombre. Just the way you say the vowel.” He continued, “But now that I know what you think, will you go out with me Saturday?

Both in Spanish and English, Sherry was speechless.

A communication problem? It’s easy enough for it to happen to Sherry or any of us when it comes to an unfamiliar language.

But when it comes to God, communication has come in thoughts, prayers, face-to-face meetings, dreams, and in his words of guidance for life in the Bible.

In Jesus’ own words, “But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33].  He had been talking about our worry about basic needs, such as clothing and food.

David wraps up all needs along life’s path with these words, “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” [Psalm 105:4]

Whether you are hungry or need something else, God understands your language, communication and need.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now released for pre-sales on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

 

Kickin’ It to High Heaven by Jo Russell

Pastor Dan was having a challenging day already. As his wife kissed him goodbye and headed out the door to teach a workshop at a women’s conference, their wee daughter, Carrie, sniffled.

“Mommy will be back tonight and Daddy will take good care of you,” she kissed the girl on the nose rushed out. “Dan, you and Carrie will have to fend for yourselves for dinner, okay?”

“Okay.”

That’s when Carrie broke out in a wail. Dan came to investigate. Carrie held out her favorite teddy, now with the nose chewed off and stuffing coming out.  The puppy had struck again.

At least he’ll be out of the chewing stage soon.

Dan recalled what he’d been telling his neighbor, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23. He’d been trying to teach him for months that life goes better with Jesus.  His neighbor wasn’t yet convinced.

“Carrie, hold this one tight.” He handed her another stuffed toy. “We’re going to go to the park for some sunshine and a run. It will be so much fun!” Daddy Dan assured her as put on one running shoe and looked for the other. A quick search took him to the backyard where puppy was chewing on the rubber sole. Pastor Dan took it away, disciplined the dog, and gave the pup a proper chew toy as he inspected his damaged shoe.

At least it’s mostly still intact.

He loaded up the stroller, his daughter, the toy and a bottle of juice. Pastor Dan noticed the wind had picked up. He ran loops at the park with a headwind as pushy as a hurricane. But as he pushed against Mother Nature with the stroller, Carrie cried with delight.

At least she’s having fun.

After he got home, Pastor Dan checked to be sure the puppy had fresh water, proper chew toys and was secure in the yard. Dan counted his blessings.

At least he didn’t sprint out of the gate today.

Dan dropped Carrie at day care and headed for the office, where he had two back-to-back counseling sessions with couples in troubled marriages.  It didn’t look good.

By the time he finished at the office, he knew this topped the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day of the century. Pastor Day remembered to stop by a fast food place for dinner before picking up his daughter. His wife wouldn’t be home for a few hours.

Pastor Dan unloaded his daughter and the stroller, rolled her into the entry way and went back for the hot food. He balanced the bag in the car and down the sidewalk to unlock the front door. That’s when the hamburgers, fries and shake tumbled onto the sidewalk. The bottom of the bag, gooey with goodies, broke.

I’d like to kick this bag to high heaven! That’s how mad I am! He clenched his fists and was ready to wind up for a record bag clobbering rivaling any star quarterback’s goal post kick.

That’s when Pastor Dan glanced around and noticed his neighbor waving and watching him and his angry face. What had Pastor Dan shared lately? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  [Romans 5:8]

More powerful than words in the Bible were Pastor’s own words and actions. Does life go better with Jesus? He had to prove that even on a horrible, terrible very bad day.

For actions really do speak louder than words. Apostle Paul writes, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.” [2 Corinthians 3:3].

Even through the horrible, terrible no good very bad days, how are you doing showing, modeling and writing on human hearts today?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now released for pre-sales on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

Sweets, Glitter and Glitz and God’s Answers by Jo Russell

“Let’s get you some good snacks to take to school this next week when it starts,” Mom told her first grade daughter as she headed down the snack aisle at the grocery store. The wee girl drew herself up sniffing like a hound on a scent.

“I can smell all the goodies!” she cried. They were surrounded by packaged snacks so bouncy and bulky that a pile of them in the middle of the floor would have topped the highest mountain in the state.

“That’s easy, Mom. I like the white ones with powdered sugar. They’re good!”

But her mom vetoed the idea and instead picked out a sensible and tasty energy bar with fruit and nuts.

“But, Mom! The ones with powdered sugar….” the child protested.

Another small girl headed to the shopping cart with her choice of school clothes: a shiny silver pair of leggings and a sequined leotard that was perfect for a Las Vegas midnight lounge show.  She could picture herself strutting her stuff in front of the school crowd.

“I like these, Mom. Every girl needs glitz!”

“Not at seven years old, Honey. Let’s find something like the other girls wear to school.” And they did.

A young woman had finally gotten saved, searched and found her wardrobe wish: a bright red dress. But in the fitting room when she tried it on, she studied her image in the mirror with horror. All this time, I’ve wanted a red dress. But I look like a blood clot!

The Lord gives us what we need and not always what we want. But that’s okay because he really sees the big picture and gives just the right thing at just the right time.  It’s a matter of trusting in him.

David, while fleeing from the danger of King Saul’s anger and armies, wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” [Psalm 34:8-10]

Those blessings and answers to needs may not be covered in powdered sugar or glitter, but are outrageously good for each day and experience of our lives! Celebrate God’s goodness!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales July, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

Standing Out with Hello and Howdy by Jo Russell

Excited but exhausted from an intensive 10-day retail sales workshop, the two tall ladies in their 60’s  stepped inside the elevator at their metro-area hotel. Susie and Marnie had still been rehearsing in their minds how to get better at greeting customers to increase business at their store. Susie was outgoing; Marnie found it more difficult. The training tips were still spinning in their heads when the two boarded the elevator headed to their room.

Seeing they were not alone, but sharing the elevator with a tall man dressed in boots and jeans, Susie smiled and blurted out training tip #3 automatically, “Well, hello and good evening!”

The startled stranger was used to silence in the elevator, even with other passengers inside. He looked her up and down, then responded, “Well howdy to you, too.  Want to join me for a drink after you get off work?”

Susie’s face turned redder than ripe summer tomatoes. Marnie bent over with laughter. After Susie’s talking and training all day, she was speechless!

But Susie’s heartfelt greetings to all in her work, church and community world was well known in her home town. She sparkled with love and caring  as she reached out to others. The reason was evident: she was an ambassador for Christ.

As Jesus said in his own words, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-16]

All of us can do the same.

And so can Susie who will just keep smiling and greeting with more hellos and howdys!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales July, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

Drenched in Streams of Living Water By Jo Russell

It was only because retirees Jim and Marney were next to the Grandstand at the end of the parade route that they got a peak at the map and the route confirming they were setting up their chairs in the “Splash Zone!”

Already, volunteers were adding sawhorses to the sides of the street labeled “Splash Zone!” right in front of them.

“Sounds like a good idea, Jim, to get wet in this hot weather. Or do you think we should move?”

“We’ll just wait and see.” He planted his folding chair in a good spot to see the parade, unconcerned about the possibility of being soaked to the underwear.

When a few hours later, the parade wound down to the fire pumper truck followed by the chief of police and clowns scooping horse apples.

For the hundreds of children in attendance, the splash zone meant a great gift from the firemen putting down a hot and humid summer day. Jim and Marney couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The couple leaned forward in their seats.

The pumper truck roared its diesel engine and raised the nozzle to the tree level. Children sprinted to the street their hands raised in praise and excitement. They waved, shouted with glee, danced in the shower and jumped on the pavement as it cooled down in the spray.

Jim and Marney were so transfixed they didn’t move and felt the cool sprinklings of a man-made shower. It felt great!  Their first experience with “the Splash Zone.”

In hot summer temperatures, an impromptu shower, dip in the pool, trip to the water park, or careening down a “Slip and Slide” in the front yard all serve to give a refreshing restart to the day.

But all are just temporary. We get hot again. We get thirsty again.

The Bible has a number of word pictures of water that are easy to remember:

“He leads me beside still waters, he refreshes my soul” [Psalm 23: 2-3]

Through all the rough waters, he leads us, smoothing the way. We become new and refreshed. We can go on!

As Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman, he said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  [John 4:13-14]

The living water he describes is what refreshes, teaches and satisfies. That is, God’s living word, the Bible, and Jesus’ teachings and words penned in those pages, satisfy the soul more than  food and water meet our needs.

Another reference to water comes from the sons of Korah, “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” [Psalm 42:1-2]

No matter what you do for God at this time in your life, have you asked him, “What do you want from me?” The answer may be “More!”

With his guidance and plan for your growth dive deeper! Get wetter! Experience his splash zone! Learn more! Rise to the challenge that he asks of you! For the living water Jesus offers doesn’t just cool you off in hot temperatures, it lasts, refreshing your mind, body and soul from here to Heaven. It’s better than the Splash Zone any day!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales soon in July, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

Life’s Freedoms and the Bonszai Water Slide by Jo Russell

Celebrating the hot weather and Independence Day, Carol  stepped up to the ticket to the water park.

“One senior, please!”

Right after that, the older woman sprinted to the gala water features with enthusiasm. As her children had long been grown and gone, she was enjoying the water park without family along this time.

This will still be lots of fun! she decided.

Subject to sunburn, she worn a tank top with a shirt tied over it and cut-off jeans that covered her bony knees. After slathering on sunscreen, Carol had the frosted carrot cake look. But each of the features were more fun for her without being left crisp and burned like overdone barbequed ribs.

It was all so enticing: the float route, the wave pool, the bobbing lily pads to balance on across in a shallow pool,  and  the inner tube slide down twisted tubes of wet fun.

But her eyes strayed back to the longest line in the park: at the Bonsai. The same kids stood again and again in line waiting to be propelled across a pool at supersonic speed.  Each swimmer shot down the watery tube like a space shuttle. Each bounced feet first into the cushioned end of the pool.

The more Carol noticed the ride and the more times she passed it to do something more tame, the more appealing the Bonsai became.

After fortifying herself with lunch, Carol got be in the long line to wait.

“I’ve gone on this six times,” one school-aged girl wrapped in pink spandex and a tan giggled. “How many times have you done this, Sherry?” And the other girl with her wet pony tail dripping on the towel over her shouldered topped it with “Ten! This will make eleven!”

Carol noticed that she wasn’t just the tallest one in line, but the only one wearing something more than a spandex bathing suit.  When she stepped up to the water slide, she smiled and she began to climb in to the tube.

An attendant shot out his arm to stop her, “You can’t go on this ride!”

“What? Don’t tell me—It’s my age! That’s prejudice! ”

“No, I remember another old—I  mean senior—person doing the Bonsai.  It’s the jeans. They take the wax off the slide. You’ll have to a spandex suit to go on this ride.”

So Carol sadly dragged herself away from the giggles and squeals of those enjoying the Bonsai. She hadn’t even brought a suit today. But next time! Watch out! And the next time, she would get the shot-from cannons experience without jeans that takes the wax off the slide.

Just as the water park employees can’t allow a swimmer to ride the Bonsai in jeans, God sets up some boundaries for the journey and ride to heaven.

The Creator cannot look on sin and allow wrongs and bad choices from breaking his commandments. In days of old, the practice was for the priests to offer sacrifices to make up for wrongs so that a relationship with God might be possible.

As Hebrews writers explain, every priest had performed his religious duties and offered the same sacrifices, which could never take away the wrongs. “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time, he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy…

Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” [Hebrews 10:12-14 and 10: 17-18]

A mediator making a way where there was no way is Jesus.  Accepting his gift of sacrifice and forgiveness makes a new way for all who accept him down all the paths including the Bonsai.

That is the ultimate freedom—to have a clean start from wrongs and to have another chance.  It’s even better than the Fourth of July because it is offered each day, not just once.

When Carol came to the water park again, she remembered a spandex suit. The Bonsai was the ride of her life. So is a life with Jesus.

Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales June, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

Appreciating Dad and The Word “Early” by Jo Russell

While mothers have their maxims of wisdom, fathers leave behind memorable tidbits that span the generations.

Some seem downright oppressive.

“Anyplace worth going on vacation is worth leaving at 4:00 in the morning,” Jan’s dad, Leo, announced to the family before their two-week camping trip to Yosemite. “We’ll be leaving at exactly 4:00 a.m.” He hoped his wife, Jeane, and their three children were listening closely. “Be sure you have your gear packed and you’re in the car by then.”

Twelve-year-old Jan packed right away and laid out her clothes. So did Mom. Both remembered Dad’s power word was “early.” Perhaps coming to life early was in his biorhythms. He was a morning person. Scientists theorize such tendencies begin at birth.

Did Leo ever mean that the family should rise when the rosy sky heralded the sunrise? Nope.

In the pre-dawn’s darkness of vacation day one, Bobby, the six-year-old, couldn’t find two socks that matched and had packed his duffle himself – full of toys and stuffed animals. Without Mom’s help, he quickly buttoned his green shirt in the wrong holes, pulled on purple plaid pants and sat shivering in the back seat. Next to him was his fully dressed 12-year-old sister, Jan. She had been waiting for ten minutes. Dad had the car’s engine warming up for the trip.

Jan’s older brother, Tony, didn’t wake up well or quickly even when roused by Mom. With slept-on hair sticking up like a whisk broom, he sprinted barefoot through the gravel toward the moving sedan pulling out of the driveway at exactly 4:00 a.m. He dived into the back seat in his pajamas and forgot his suitcase entirely.

Dad’s power word “EARLY” dominated the weekday in a good way.

While it was hours before dawn, and because he had to be at work early, Jan’s dad prepared sizzling sausages to go with fried eggs, stacks of pancakes, and hot cereal for the whole family.

His love glowed through his time listening and teaching. As the children became teens, Jan’s father mentored them through the important phases of moving into adulthood – including getting up before sunup to make the best of one’s day.

As we celebrate Father’s Day today, remember God’s take on parents in Exodus 20:

“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12.

And whether the father in your life is a morning person or doesn’t come to life until evening,

honor him and his biorhythms. His life woven with yours is a great gift along with words of wisdom.

Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing June, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

The Master Fisherman and the Catch of His Life by Jo Russell

Senior fishing enthusiast Paul was practically dancing the jig when his fiancée, Carol, agreed to try out fishing.

What great timing! Besides the bigger fish coming out after spring, Fish and Game just stocked the lakes with pan-sized trout!

Paul had carefully checked all his gear and packed it as he would be picking up Carol before the sun was up. He guided his car through the dark streets to her house.

Carol met him at the door with a kiss and a large picnic basket with wonderful snacks, a hearty lunch with fresh fruit as well as homemade cookies.

He sniffed with appreciation, “Chocolate chip! My favorite!”

When they arrived at the tranquil lake at sunrise with mist rising from the mirrored water, Carol fell in love with the setting. But she knew as much about fishing as hunting elephants. All she knew was that she didn’t use a rifle for this sport. Something about hooks.

“So how do I start?” Carol wanted to know after she set two chairs next to the water.

“I’ll show you,” Paul offered as he pulled a fat, wiggly worm from the container. “You tear it in half like this and thread it onto the hook.”

Tear the worm in half. Yuck!

He handed the pole to her, put his hands over hers and with a graceful arch, he cast the bait into the water. Then he baited and cast his own line.

Not long after, she feel teeny tugs on her line. “What do I do?”

“You have to set the hook. Pull back on it.” He grasped her arms to show her.

“I’ve got a fish!”

“Reel it in.” She did, but got excited and waved the pole in the direction of the shore. The bouncing fish jumped around on the ground in higher arches than on a trampoline.

Carol jumped out of the way in fright.

“Where do I put it after that?”

“In this bucket.”

“I can’t pick it up! Ewwww! It’s slimy and wiggles!”

So Paul grasped the fish and put it in the bucket,

“What’s next?” she wanted to know.

“You take the pliers and take the hook out of its mouth.”

“Could you do it this time?” she batted her eyes at him.

He took the hook out and dropped the fish back in the bucket.

Carol had put on rubber gloves to try to thread the next worm on.

“Why are you wearing gloves?”

“Because the worms are gooey. But they keep my fingers from working very well.”  Paul did it for her….again.

In a few hours, they had caught their limit and on the shore enjoyed Carol’s home cooking during their picnic.

“That was so much fun, Paul! Let’s do it again!” Paul nodded, but he reflected on all his hard work fishing. He was ready to go home and take a nap.

When a person does everything for another, they miss the experience, but also the know-how to do it again even better. It means that the teacher has missed the mark.

Jesus did no such thing as he taught and walked with his disciples. In personal example, words, parables, speeches to crowds and personal counseling, Jesus taught how to show others who he is and how to live.

The Bible reads, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’” [Matthew 4:18-19]

Jesus will not do it all for us, even when things are wiggly, gooey and slimy. But he will teach us and we will truly learn his ways, his truth and his life.  He is the Master Fisherman and we are the catch of his life!

Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing June, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]