Fisher of Men

Life Isn’t Fair—But God Is In Your Corner

“I delight in hearing You whisper, ‘I am with you.’ And I rejoice in the new strength gained through spending time with You.” – Jesus Listens Prayers for Advent Sometimes life isn’t fair. Can I get an amen? Sometimes life just smacks us down. Without warning. And it’s not even our fault. Sickness hits out of the blue, beloved relationships end, or divorce or death arrives at our door, changing us forever. We all have stories We all have stories to share. We all have trials. Hurts. Pains. They just come in different flavors. Some hurts are big. And I mean really big. Like huge. Others are smaller, but they are real. And they count. I have a story, too. I am compelled to share only for this reason: freedom. God wants to take all of our burdens, big and small. He wants to make all things...

Nurturing Lifelong Friendships

“You lead me down the mountain, back into community with other people. May the Light of Your Presence continue to shine on me and make me a blessing to others.” – Jesus Listens, January 25th There’s something deeply comforting about a lifelong friend. They fit like a favorite sweatshirt: relaxed, familiar, and safe. Maybe you met when you both still had a lot of growing to do, so you did it together. You’ve supported each other through breakups and breakthroughs. You’re long past the early days of building trust, explaining the backstory, or worrying about formalities. But as easy as seasoned friendships feel, we can’t take them for granted—we can’t treat them like old sweatshirts. Like all relationships, lifelong friendships need attention and care. Here are three ways to nurture lifelong...

Prayer: A Gift to Marriage

“You’ve shown me that gratefulness blesses me doubly—with joyful memories of answered prayer and with the pleasure of sharing my happiness with You!” – Jesus Listens, February 29th Marriage is an incredible journey, full of ups and downs, twists and turns. There have been many times our marriage has surprised us, sometimes in good ways, and other times we have been surprised—or rather shocked—at how such a close relationship can experience heartache, pain, and hardship. In those times of uncertainty and emotion, we clung to the Lord in prayer. We humbled ourselves and presented to Him our brokenness, in hopes of Him transforming us for the better. Prayer was an anchor Prayer was an anchor for our relationship and continues to be a way we strengthen our unity and increase our intimacy with ...

We’ve Never Walked This Road Alone

“These signs of Your Presence strengthen me and prepare me for whatever difficulties I’ll encounter on the road ahead. Help me to remember that nothing in all creation can separate me from Your Love!” – Jesus Listens, September 22nd “God is going to do big things with your life,” we often hear. No doubt well meaning, but is it true? Is it big when God allows a believer to wrestle with debilitating chronic illness? Is it big when a godly servant spends his or her life serving in a small one-room church in a rural town? Is it big when a mother turns down a corner-office promotion to teach her children full time from home? Can a small and hidden life be as glorious as one seen and heard across the globe? Earthly standards While not big by earthly standards, even small acts of obedience that g...

Creating a Family Rule of Life

“An easy way for me to start talking with You is to thank You for being my Savior-God and beloved Friend. I can also give You thanks for things that are happening in my life, in my family, and beyond. These prayers of thanksgiving connect me with You and ease my way into other types of prayers.” – Jesus Listens, October 8th Decision fatigue is real. Weekday mornings used to be riddled with anxiety for one of my sons—finding the clothes he wanted for any given school day left us scrambling more than once. We now live in a school district with an established dress code for students: plain polos and pants. The dress code provided the structure he needed. Weekday mornings became a lot less stressful for everyone when we got into the routine of simplifying his outfit choices. Header Creating a ...

What to Do When God Seems to Have Vanished

“I need to practice trusting You during quiet days, when nothing much seems to be happening. Then, when storms come, my faith-balance will be sufficient to get me through those tough times. Please remind me to affirm my trust in You.” – Jesus Listens, February 22nd “Lord, where are you?” Cloud of hurt A sudden and sharp conflict with a friend left me reeling. The remaining cloud of hurt left me feeling as though God was gone. Despite walking with Jesus for decades, I couldn’t feel Him. I needed His presence. I craved His voice. Yet I felt deaf to the once-familiar whispers of His Spirit. The well-worn pages of my Bible and my battered faith told me He was still there, but it seemed God had disappeared into the blind spot of my pain. How do we see our invisible God when it seems He’s vanish...

Interruptions Can Be Opportunities

“Rather than letting setbacks and interruptions upset me, I want to use them as reminders—that You are the sovereign God and I am Your beloved follower. Help me to trust in Your unfailing Love, gladly subordinating my plans to Your infinitely wise Master Plan.” – Jesus Listens, October 26th I don’t like to be interrupted. Whether in conversation or while I am working on a task,  interruptions derail my focus, stunt task completion, and frequently leave me unsettled or  annoyed. I lose the point of what I was discussing when people interject. I lose my fervor for  the task at hand when other demands cut in to dance. Some interruptions lurch I know you’ve been here, trying to tap out a text that matters—the response to your boss, the  apology to your spouse, the reply to ...

The Birth & Death of Shame

“The Bible tells me that knowing the truth will set me free, and Your wonderful counseling is freeing me from sin and shame.” – Jesus Listens, October 9 Shame has been a background noise in my life—a low and persistent hum. But where did shame start? God created Adam and Eve in His own image, perfectly crafted to commune with Him for all eternity. But, of course, they didn’t stay that way. Just a short time after God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and laid out their purpose in creation, that purpose was tragically derailed by something called the fall. You likely know the story. Entire commentaries could (and have) been written on just the first three chapters of the Book of Beginnings, but I want to focus on what happened directly before and directly after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. H...

Live Without Secrets

“How thankful I am to be fully known by You! Everything about me is visible to You—including my most secret thoughts and feelings.” – Jesus Listens, April 19th I long for a church that lives without secrets. The Beauty of Honesty One of my favorite things about church is our new members’ meetings. All the new members pack in a room for a Saturday, and they share their testimonies. There are always lots of tissues, lots of hugs, and lots of honesty. Whenever I see new members join, I think, This is the church as it should be! A bunch of people in a room, telling each other why they are messed up, and celebrating that God loves us anyway. But most of church life is not like that. I see pastors fall from grace because of secrets they kept. I see people worry more about fitting in at church th...

Goals & God’s Will

“Please keep reminding me that the higher I go with You, the closer I get to my ultimate goal: the heights of heaven—an eternity with You!” – Jesus Listens, July 22nd It has been said that there are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. You don’t want it to be number two or three, do you? And yet, that’s where the bulk of humanity usually ends up spending most of their time. God’s goal How do you avoid it? The personal-development industry says the answer is to set goals for yourself so you can accomplish great things and make your dreams into reality. And that’s good thinking—as far as it goes. There’s a tremendous amount of common sense behind goal-setting. So many people have no clue what they...

God Gives You What The World Cannot

“My physical life is an amazing gift, but my spiritual life is a treasure of infinite value. Because I belong to You, I will live with You forever—enjoying a glorified body that will never get sick or grow tired. Thank You for the priceless gift of salvation by grace through faith!” – Jesus Listens, September 5th Tracy spent another restless night tossing and turning in bed, wondering if in the morning she would see the results on the scale she was hoping for. She knows weighing herself is a fool’s game, but she can’t help herself. She needs to know. That time she tried embracing her body and learning to trust her hunger cues felt initially empowering. Still, given one stressful day at work, by that night, she found herself doing the things she had hoped would be put to rest by learning to...

Choosing Worship Over Worry

“I’ve found that thanksgiving and praise put me in proper relationship with You—opening the way for Your Joy to flow into me as I draw near You in worship.” – Jesus Listens, May 9 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. —Romans 10:17 NIV Faith felt easy Faith felt easy at one point in my life. I didn’t realize that my confident exterior was a cover-up for the fear hiding in my heart. Waves of challenges hit one after another until most of that self-assurance washed away. Problems seemed to surround me on every side: impossibilities at work, difficulties as a new mom, and struggles in marriage. One morning while home alone with my kids, I sank under the floodwaters of fear, and I wasn’t sure I could come back up. Abbey and ...