Thankful for the Blessings of Today!

We can see God’s glory shine everywhere around us as the storm slowly creeps in! Unexpected things in life are special little gifts wrapped in watching your children swim in a lake full of birds. With every breath I take, I smell the familiar days of spending the summer trolling on the lake with my family. I loved hearing my dad get super excited when a fish hit my pole. Everything we do with our children really matters as they experience life with you! When a fish hits my line, I had set the hook and reel it in steady and fast while not giving the fish any slack! It’s amazing how what seems so small like fishing is actually huge because practicing good habits when you’re young leads to good habits as an adult! My arms burned as my dad said, “keep going, don’t give up! It reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” It is an example of how we are supposed to be for each other as sisters and brothers in Christ when things in life get hard.

If you were still fishing, you could feel or see your pole hit when a fish struck your line! However trolling for Kokanee is different, the line always looked like you had a fish on. You would have to pay close attention to your pole because you might miss a nibble or a bit. We never knew for sure if a fish was on our line, until we brought the fish up to the boat and scooped it up with the net! Most of the time we couldn’t get the net ready in time and just flung the fish right in the boat at my dad. It was hard because we see or feel the the fish on the pole when it was on the hook. We fought the current of the water as we reeled in the fish! The boat could not stop or suddenly turn or all the lines would get tangled together! We had to stay on course by staying focused as the boat continued to move. The current is like how we are not fighting against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

One unique fishing day, all of us experienced a hit on our line at the same time! However, it seemed like we were reeling and fighting to bring in this fish longer than usual. My dad said “stop” He decided he was going to reel in the fish first! When my dad pulled the fish out of the water, it looked torn up with its mouth ripped in many directions. His mouth was full of all of our hooks. It swallowed every one of them. This one fish had us fighting who would bring in our fish first. My dad recognized something different and instead of us fighting about who would bring it in first, we let go and our dad reeled him in. We knew we had to keep going but let go and listened even when we didn’t understand at the time. Normally we just kept reeling in our line at a steady speed hoping the fish is on the hook! But, the flashers never made it to the surface of the water. It reminds me how we need to be awake and alert, sober minded because the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). Most of the time when the flashers finally reached the surface of the water, we would have to reel even faster to get the fish in the boat! Competition can blind us sometimes and it can be hard to let yourself lose, but you gain so much more when you let go. My dad brought in the fish that day but we all caught it together. Philippians 2:1-4 (NIV) “1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.“ If we never let go, and thought of ourselves, we would have never brought our fish in the boat.

This is such a valuable lesson for me looking back fishing with my family. I could not depend on what I saw when the flashers spun around shining in the sun. It looked like a fish on the line every time. If I slowed down just a little to rest, it would give the fish too much slack and it would jerk the line ripping the fish right off the hook! So, I kept going! We had to stay on courses by looking out for each other. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” We are to keep running the race all the days of our life, focusing on Jesus for His glory no matter if we are fishing, walking, pulling weeds or just driving down the road. It will be hard and you will have trouble, you will get hurt by people you love. But, stay on course and remember it’s not a war against flesh and blood. Stay focused on Jesus by loving everyone by looking for the good in all people and in every situation. The hurt can feel like the burning in your arms as you reel in a fish that might be there! We can’t see the prize yet but we can see everything He is doing around us, in us and for us! 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” We can see in the Bible as we experience real people going through hard life threatening circumstances! They did not see how everything would work out. Just like for us, we don’t see how everything will work out but have faith knowing He has already worked it out for our good in His perfect timing! These physical training examples for me growing up helped me grow strong in perseverance even if I didn’t understand yet. I was in training at a young age by learning to listen to my father’s instruction even when I didn’t understand why he asked me to keep reeling steady and fast or suddenly stop! Most of the time He said, “keep going even if you don’t see the fish (fruit) of your labor right now” But we need to be alert and sober minded so we can hear when we are told to stop! It took me a while to understand because I was young but he kept repeating. Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” We need to keep teaching in love and patience and live out what we are supposed to do for all people because even when we don’t see the results on the outside it doesn’t mean something wonderful is happening on the inside even more beautiful. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” My dad has no idea the kinds of lessons he taught us growing up! I would love to share with him! I’m so thankful for the blessings of being on that boat stuck in the lake for a day at a time! We spent so much time fishing for Kokanee on a big boat in a lake that seemed like an ocean. They were so delicious especially when my dad smoked them or my mom canned them! I miss those days with my family on the lake, and am so very thankful for the blessing today!

God shows Himself through people, places, and things that seem random! But, God has already set everything up for a purpose! It’s the unplanned events that seem to be the most enjoyable! I think it’s because there is no time for overthinking just allowing God to pour his love and goodness on us! While we enjoy the blessings of today! Galatians 3:26-29, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Psalms 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11:6
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. John 20:29
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
1 Peter 5:5-11 (NIV) In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.” a
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.