This wasn’t the first night that Peter had spent on the Sea of Galilee. After all, he was a fisherman. He, like the others, worked at night. He knew the fish would feed near the surface during the cool of the night and return to the deep during the day. No, this wasn’t the first night Peter had spent on the Sea of Galilee. Nor was it the first night he had caught nothing.

There was that time years before …

Most mornings Peter and his partners would sell their fish, repair their nets, and head home to rest with a bag of money and a feeling of satisfaction. This particular morning there was no money. There was no satisfaction. They had worked all through the night but had nothing to show for it except weary backs and worn nets.

And, what’s worse, everyone knew it. Every morning the shore would become a market as the villagers came to buy their fish, but that day there were no fish.

Jesus was there that morning, teaching. As the people pressed there was little room for him to stand, so he asked Peter if his boat could be a platform. Peter agreed, maybe thinking the boat might as well be put to some good use.

Peter listens as Jesus teaches. It’s good to hear something other than the slapping of waves. When Jesus finishes with the crowd, he turns to Peter. He has another request. He wants to go fishing. “Take the boat into deep water, and put your nets in the water to catch some fish” (Luke 5:4).

Peter groans. The last thing he wants to do is fish. The boat is clean. The nets are ready to dry. The sun is up and he is tired. It’s time to go home. Besides, everyone is watching. They’ve already seen him come back empty-handed once. And, what’s more, what does Jesus know about fishing?

So Peter speaks, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish” (v. 5).

Mark the weariness in the words.

“We worked hard.” Scraping the hull. Carrying the nets. Pulling the oars. Throwing the nets high into the moonlit sky. Listening as they slap on the surface of the water.

All night.” The sky had gone from burnt orange to midnight black to morning gold. The hours had passed as slowly as the fleets of clouds before the moon. The fishermen’s conversation had stilled and their shoulders ached. While the village slept, the men worked. All … night … long.

Trying to catch fish.” The night’s events had been rhythmic: net swung and tossed high till it spread itself against the sky. Then wait. Let it sink. Pull it in. Do it again. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. Every toss had been a prayer. But every drag of the empty net had come back unanswered. Even the net sighed as the men pulled it out and prepared to throw it again.

For twelve hours they’d fished. And now … now Jesus is wanting to fish some more? And not just off the shore, but in the deep?

Peter sees his friends shrug their shoulders. He looks at the people on the beach watching him. He doesn’t know what to do. Jesus may know a lot about a lot, but Peter knows about fishing. Peter knows when to work and when to quit. He knows there is a time to go on and a time to get out.

Common sense said it was time to get out. Logic said cut your losses and go home. Experience said pack it up and get some rest. But Jesus said, “We can try again if you want.”

The most difficult journey is back to the place where you failed.

Jesus knows that. That’s why he volunteers to go along. “The first outing was solo; this time I’ll be with you. Try it again, this time with me on board.”

And Peter reluctantly agrees to try again. “But you say to put the nets in the water, so I will” (Luke 5:5). It didn’t make any sense, but he’d been around this Nazarene enough to know that his presence made a difference. That wedding in Cana? That sick child of the royal ruler? It’s as if Jesus carried his own deck to the table.

So the oars dip again and the boat goes out. The anchor is set and the nets fly once more.

Peter watches as the net sinks, and he waits. He waits until the net spreads as far as his rope allows. The fishermen are quiet. Peter is quiet. Jesus is quiet. Suddenly the rope yanks. The net, heavy with fish, almost pulls Peter overboard.

John, James!” he yells. “Come quick!

Soon the boats are so full of fish that the port side rim dips close to the surface. Peter, ankle deep in flopping silver, turns to look at Jesus, only to find that Jesus is looking at him.

That’s when he realizes who Jesus is.

What an odd place to meet God—on a fishing boat on a small sea in a remote country! But such is the practice of the God who comes into our world. Such is the encounter experienced by those who are willing to try again … with him.

Peter’s life was never again the same after that catch.

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During the month in which we honor earthly fathers,
this is a reprise of a devotional on the Father Heart of God.
I never tire of talking about it nor receiving it.

We have a crisis of fathering in this country.

A hundred years ago Teddy Roosevelt said, “What we need in our public officials is not genius, not even brilliancy, so much as the exercise of the ordinary, rather commonplace qualities of honesty, courage, and common sense — the qualities that make a man a good husband, a good father, a good neighbor.” Our crisis in good fathering is ultimately more serious than any economic or political crisis. Very few people have been fathered in spirit and soul. We need to receive from Father God his re-parenting us as true sons and daughters. The good news is that God wants to be our Father. Jesus came to show us His Father and ours.

Receiving the perfect Father nature of God is essential if we are to love Him and be assured of His love, trust Him, be secure in Him, pray to Him, yield to Him, live holy before Him, receive His guidance, serve Him, be like Him, and much more. Spend time with your Father in His Word, His love letter to you. Receive His Father love for you.

He is our Father by right of the blood of Jesus (John 1:12).

Our basis of eternal security is being in the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29).

We pray to the Father in Jesus’ name (Matthew 6:9).

God’s Father love for us is our highest motivation to holiness (1 John 3:1-3).

His Fatherhood is the basis of understanding His guiding hand (John 5:20, 10:3-4, 27).

Every family derives its name from the Father, so God the Father is the model for headship in our families (Ephesians 3:14-15, Psalm 68:5-6).

Our Father wants us to yield to His gentle parental authority (Hosea 11:1, 3-4, Ephesians 6:4).

The basis of trusting Him is seeing Him as our totally able and faithful Father (Matthew 18:19-20, Hebrews 13:5, 2 Timothy 2:13).

When we know Him as Father, we will trust His parental generosity (Matthew 6:32-33, James 1:17, Psalm 37:3-5).

Knowing Him as Father is the basis of receiving His parental affection (John 17:23, Hosea 11:4, Jeremiah 31:3, Deuteronomy 33:12).

His Father-heart is the basis for His parental attentiveness (Matthew 6:25-26, 31; 1 Peter 5:7).

When we rightly knowing Him as Father, we are secure in his acceptance and rest securely in Him (Galatians 4:5-7, Romans 8:15-16, 32-33; Zephaniah 3:17).

His relationship to us as Father is the legal basis of receiving all our inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14, Colossians 1:12, 1 Peter 1:3-4).

The Father is seeking worshipers. When we understand His Father heart, we will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

Knowing our loving Father is the foundation for intimate relationship with Him.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is a picture of the Father’s love. Personalize it, and receive it for yourself. My Father who loves me is patient with me, kind to me…. My Father’s love is not rude, nor self-seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. My Father’s love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. My Father’s love always protects me, always trusts me, always hopes [believes the best about me], always perseveres and never gives up on me.

My Father’s love for me never fails.

Now that’s shouting ground!

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