The human race has made a fine art out of judging the faults and foibles of others, while at the same time overlooking and excusing our own. It is the nature of people of all times and places to point out the shortcomings, sins, and slip-ups of others, and pass judgment on what would be appropriate punishment. All the while, of course, ignoring our own screw-ups and scandals. What if we each got what we deserved? We might decide that that the idea of justice, in general, was overrated. What if we each got what we deserved from God? What if we were each judged according to God's perfect standard of generosity, forgiveness, and compassion? And not just for what we did - or didn't - do, but for what we felt in our hearts and thought in our minds? Good thing for us that God is not just generous, forgiving and compassionate, but he is also merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God's love not only knows no bounds, God is relentless in pursuing us with God's goodness, grace and mercy. Worship Link:

When one fisher came home without any fish, he was asked, "I thought you were going fishing? Why don't you have any fish?" To which the fisher responded, "I said I was going fishing, not catching." A. K. Best said, "The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad." A large part of fishing is casting the line and waiting, casting the line and waiting, and casting it yet again. You get as many chances as you have time for. And if you are good - or lucky - you might even catch a fish. Not everything in life offers so many chances at success. Final exams, the "court of last resort," and the third strike are all definitive. Once you've reached these, you've had all the chances you are going to get. Jonah may have thought he was out of chances when he found himself in the belly of a great fish. But even though he had disobeyed and run from God, God gave him a second chance. Our God is a God of second, third, fourth, fifth and even sixth chances. In fact, God is a God of unlimited chances. Think you've tested and tried God to his limits? Think again. God is just waiting to give you another chance. Worship Link:

The Eye of the Storm

"Gone fishing" is the sign on the door of many an angler this time of year. The long days, the warm breezes, and the hope of a good catch lure expert fishers and weekend casters, alike. And the stories that come home can be real whoppers! The high adventure intensifies with every telling and the fish get longer with every measure of outstretched arms. The fishing is fun, the stories are engaging, and the remembering is almost as good as the doing. The Bible gives us a whopper of a fish story, too. Only in this tale, the fish does the catching. God gives Jonah a specific assignment. But not wanting to obey God's instruction, Jonah heads the opposite direction... on a boat... and out to sea. Everything goes terribly wrong, and Jonah finds himself in the belly of a great fish. Thinking he was walking away from a difficult task to live on easy street, Jonah finds himself in deep water. Thinking he could flee from God, Jonah finds that God is with him even in the belly of the fish. There's no place we can go where God's mercy can't reach us, even in the middle of the storm. Worship Link: