About the Guest
When we experience failures and defeats, it's tempting to walk away, and Priscilla Shirer says that's the moment when Christ often shows up and uses our defeat as a pulpit to proclaim His glory. Priscilla Shirer speaks on the Sisterhood of the Net.
When we experience failures and defeats, it’s tempting to walk away. Priscilla Shirer says that’s the moment when Christ often shows up and uses our defeat as a pulpit to proclaim His glory.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, November 26th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll hear from Priscilla Shirer today about how disappointments in our life can, ultimately, bring great glory to God. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. Here in the United States, it is Thanksgiving Day. It’s always a big day at the Rainey house; right?
Dennis: It is a big day. We get enough card tables out because the kids and the grandkids come home, usually. I always hope for good weather because there’s not a room big enough to put enough card tables in our house for all of the grandkids and the adults—a lot of human beings.
Bob: You don’t have everyone gather around the radio and listen to FamilyLife Today on Thanksgiving Day; right? [Laughter]
Dennis: Are you kidding!?
Bob: I just wondered!
Dennis: You know! Tell me what happens at your house, Bob-o! [Laughter]
Your kids are going: “Oh, Dad! We’re going to miss FamilyLife Today! Can we all gather around the radio and listen?” [Laughter]
Bob: Well, I’ll tell you what—if there was a day for them to gather around and listen, this would be one of those shows.
Dennis: Oh, yes! Oh, yes.
Bob: If they don’t catch it today, you ought to point them to it online. Let them download the audio or get the CD because we’re going to hear from Priscilla Shirer.
Dennis: And she can bring it!
Bob: She’s got some encouragement today.
Dennis: She can bring it! Priscilla holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from The Dallas Theological Seminary.
Bob: Yes, I was waiting for that. [Laughter]
Dennis: She gives leadership to a ministry called Going Beyond Ministries and hosts an annual outreach event called “Awaken.” She’s a pretty good Bible teacher, Bob—
Bob: Some of that’s genetic.
Dennis: —better than pretty good.
Bob: Some of that’s genetic because she grew up in a household with a daddy who’s a pretty good Bible teacher.
Dennis: Tony Evans is not bad. Lois is even better than Tony. [Laughter]
Bob: And Priscilla? She ranks up there too.
Dennis: Yes, she does.
Bob: We had her speak to women onboard the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise—took them to Luke, Chapter 5.
Priscilla: If you don’t have your Bible, don’t worry about it because there’s a lady next to you who cannot wait for you to look over her shoulder—[Laughter]—Luke,
Chapter 5; alright? You have your iPhone, your iPad®—any manner of iNess—just flip on over to Luke, Chapter 5, verse 1: “Now it came about that while the multitude were pressing around Him,”—that is, Jesus—“and listening to the Word of God, He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, and He saw”—somebody say, “He saw.”
Audience: He saw.
Priscilla: “He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets.” Let’s just start right here because, in these first two verses of this story, we get to see Simon Peter—this fisherman—the exact same way that Jesus did on this particular occasion. The Scripture says that there were a crowd of people who were pressing in around Jesus.
Simon, at this point, had already been fishing all night long. He’d already been doing what you’ve been doing—exerting that time, or energy, or effort, that emotional interest—into that particular endeavor. For him, it was fishing. For you, it might be your marriage, or your child, or that ministry, or your career. You’ve already been fishing; and Simon’s been fishing, all night long.
On this occasion, Jesus spots him after he has already abandoned that boat. He is already, now, standing outside of his boat because he is irritated, frustrated, upset, discouraged; because he’s already poured so much in, and he doesn’t seem to have gotten anything out of it. The Scripture says—I love when the Scripture is so clear and paints a picture for us to see. It says that Jesus was being pressed by a multitude. Get the picture here. This was not a calm, sedate, casual crowd—kind of sitting and listening like you all are here today / you are just sitting, you are listening, you are attentive, you are calm—that was not this crowd.
These people wanted to get as close as they possibly could to this man—who, if they did not yet believe that He was the Messiah / if they did not yet believe / if they weren’t fully convinced that He was who He claimed to be—what they did know was that, when this Jesus showed up, blind people could see. With all of that commotion, and all of that chaos, and all of that resonance happening all around, and all of that confusion, verse 2 says, “He saw” one fisherman, who’d had a bad night fishing. I love that Scripture is so clear here that the crowd was pressing in / that needs were abounding, and yet, He did not miss the plight of one fisherman who had a bad night.
And then verse 3 says, “He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and He asked him to push out a little way from land.” Listen to that first sentence again. It says, “He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s.”
If you notice—verse 2 said, “Simon got out.” Verse 3—Jesus is in. In verse 2, Simon is so frustrated, overwhelmed, and irritated that he wants to abandon this boat that represents a night of complete disappointment. He wants to get away from it as quickly as he possibly can. So, verse 2 says that he gets out of the boat—that represents his frustration. In verse 3, the very thing that represented frustration and irritation—the very thing that was so difficult for Simon that he had to abandon it and get out of it—is the very thing that Jesus sees as the perfect thing for Him to get into so that He can proclaim His message to everybody who’s gathered.
You know what’s amazing about our God, y’all? Not only that He sees us, but He will use the part of your life that you think is useless—
Priscilla: —the part you want to abandon, the part that you want to get out of, the part that you’d rather do without, the season of your life you wish would just hurry up and pass. [Laughter]
That abandoned-boat situation of your life—more than likely, that’s going to be the exact thing that Jesus, Himself, gets into and proclaims to everybody who’s watching how great He really is. Somehow, He uses our platforms of disappointment as a place for Him to stand and make a pulpit that He can declare His glory from.
He’s going to use the part of your life that you think is useless—the hardest part of your journey, the most difficult part of your years of marriage, the valley year that you thought that you two would never come out of, the streams of your life that you just felt have been a waste of time: “Why did we even have to go through that?” For some reason, He takes those platforms of disappointment—the ones you want to get out of / the ones you want to abandon—that’s going to be the pulpit, my friends. Jesus stands on that abandoned platform; and all of a sudden, it becomes a natural amphitheater so that every single person who is gathered hears every word that is going to come out of Jesus’ mouth.
There were probably thousands gathered that day. Jesus wanted to make sure that everybody—from the very, very front all the way to the very back—did not miss one word that was going to come out of His mouth as He looked around Himself on that occasion to figure out, “Where in the world can I stand to make sure that nobody misses this word of God?”—verse 1 says. It’s a very important phrase that signifies this was the first time He was really declaring His Messianic intentions—that He was really saying for the first time—it’s the first time that phrase ever appears in the Gospel. This is the first time Jesus was going to give them this all-important message of “Who I am,” and “What it is that I came to do.”
On this occasion, when He wanted to make sure nobody missed this all-important message, the best place Jesus could find to declare it was the abandoned-boat circumstance of Simon’s life. You need to know that the people at your job, the folks in your neighborhood, the people in your sphere of influence—the best message that they will ever hear about Jesus Christ is probably going to come from the part of your life that you’re wondering why it ever happened in the first place.
Priscilla: That abandoned-boat circumstance? Jesus is going to get right on that and make it a pulpit. Other people are going to see, through your life and mine, how great He really is. That valley-year of your marriage?—my friend, it is worth something. God’s going to use it for His glory.
It’s like me and Anthony’s mama—we call her “Mommy.” My mother is a master chef—she’s really not, but you know what I mean—it’s like there’s no cooking like your mama’s cooking—you know what I mean?
Priscilla: What my mama would do—we grew up in the age where a lot of you did, as well, I’m sure—where there was none of this going-out-to-eat-dinner-on-Sunday stuff. My mama made dinner on Sunday—serious dinner! Like, you know, yeast rolls were rising all night long, and there might be a roast, slow cooking, all night long. I remember, Saturday nights, smelling Sunday dinner, all night long / through the middle of the night. So, she would get all this stuff together. There are four kids in our family, and my two parents. So, there were six of us. I still, to this day, cannot figure out how she got everything on the table on Sunday, hot, at the same time. [Laughter]
I still cannot master it. I have no idea. Just one oven—how was everything on the table like that, at the same time?—can’t figure it out. I have a new appreciation for her, and how much work that is to get everything on the table.
Which is why—I know now—why, on Mondays, my mother did no cooking. [Laughter] Possibly even Tuesday, she wouldn’t cook; but she did go into the refrigerator, and she looked at all the leftovers from Sunday. She pulled out the chicken, the broccoli, a little macaroni and cheese. She’d figure out what would work best together. She would start chopping, and dicing, and reconfiguring, and stirring. She’d pour, you know, some cream of mushroom soup in it and stir that around. Then, she’d spread it out in a baking dish and probably sprinkle some cheese on top of it; put it in an oven, at about 350 degrees for just a little while; and then she’d pull it out—give it a French-sounding name—and serve it to us. [Laughter] We thought it was spectacular! [Laughter]
This is exactly what Jesus does with your life and mine.
He takes the parts that we think are just leftovers; and He chops it, dices it, reconfigures it, stirs it together—pours a little cream of Holy Spirit on top of it. [Laughter] He sprinkles it with a little grace and mercy; and then, yes, He puts you inside the oven of trial for just a little while. But like any master chef, He’s standing to make sure that, at just the right time, He takes you out. He gives you a brand-new name, and He serves you to a lost and dying world that needs to know that He is mm—mm good. [Laughter] That’s what our God does! [Applause]
He sees you, and He’s going to use the part of your life that you think is useless. By the way, can I just say that you and I, I’m sure, are in agreement on this—we believe our God is sovereign; right?
Audience: Yes! Amen!
Priscilla: Sovereignty means, not only that your God has stood before time in eternity past, and He saw Genesis 1:1—that’s when time began—He stood in eternity past / pre-Genesis 1:1.
He saw time, the beginning of time, all the way to the very end, and into eternity future. He’s already been there and seen all of that; okay? Sovereignty means, not only that He’s seen it, but that He controls all of it—that nothing that happens on this spectrum is a shock to God. Your life and mine—these 70, 80, 90, 100 years, if we’re blessed, really blessed—those years are a blip on the radar screen of the spectrum of time. But He’s seen your blip on the radar screen and mine, which means what happened to you last week shocked you, but it didn’t shock God. He was not sitting in the heavens going, “Oh, My gosh! I cannot believe that!”—[Laughter]—because He is sovereign.
And if we believe He’s sovereign, that means that, while Simon was out there in the deep, fishing and catching nothing—putting back in his net and pulling up nothing again, and again, and again—that he was shocked, that he was disappointed, and he was completely alarmed by what was happening; but Jesus was not.
Which means, when Jesus showed up the next morning, He was not shocked to find that there was a platform there with no fish on it. In fact, if Jesus is sovereign, it means He allowed Simon to not catch fish because think about it—if the platform would have been filled with a bunch of flipping, flopping fish, there would have been nowhere for Jesus to stand. Jesus knew the morning was coming, and He was going to need a place to plant His feet so He could proclaim the message that He had to proclaim to people.
So, sometimes, in His sovereignty, He allows you to fish but come up empty-handed because He needs a place to stand in your life. If He let you and me fill it up with all our own talent, and skill, and ability, then we’d never have room for the Lover of our souls to do what He does best. And so it says, “When He finished speaking to the people from the boat, He said to Simon, ‘Push out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’”
Simon said, “Master, we worked hard all night long. We’ve caught nothing.” In other words: “You know, we’ve already done this; right, Jesus? But at Your bidding, I’m going to do it anyway.” What a good word. “…at Your bidding, I’m going to do it anyway.” “So when they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish,”—so much so, y’all, that their nets started breaking—that’s a lot of fish! Verse 7 says, “They signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them, and they came and filled both the boats, so that both of them began to sink.” I bet you Simon has never seen a fishing trip like this one before in his life. [Laughter]
My time is up, but I want to share something with you. Simon was called out into deep water—deep water! Shallow water is so much easier; isn’t it?—the place where we can stand on our own two feet and we can keep our head above water. But, oftentimes, for many of you, after this cruise is over, you already know He is calling you to the deep—the deep water—the risky place of just trusting Him / of full abandoning, where you cannot catch your feet onto the ground for anything.
You just don’t have what it takes to not be in over your head. You are in the deep, risky place of faith. It seems safer and easier to stand in the shallow waters and to stay there, but listen—you are better off in the deep water with Jesus than in the shallow water without Him, my friend. [Applause] If He’s calling you deep—if He’s saying, “Stay. Stick in the towel. Don’t give up! Come with Me into the deep, risky place of faith,”—it is in deep waters where miracles happen!
Listen. The shallow water was to teach all those people. The deep water—that was to teach Simon. The shallow water—that’s for everybody else, y’all / the deep stuff—that’s for you! It’s in the deep water that you and I get to see God be Who He is! It’s in the deep water / that risky place of faith, where we’re unsure and our palms are sweating, and it maybe doesn’t even feel as good as we thought it would feel—it’s in that place that God gets to demonstrate His power in our life in a way that we will never be able to forget, for as long as we live.
So, Simon goes out to deep water and the miracle is so great. The Scripture says he has to signal to his partners. I love this! I love this because that means he didn’t yell out to them. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman or what; but if this would have happened to me, I would have said: “Y’all gotta get over here and see this! You are not going to believe this!” Simon—[gesturing, while audience laughs]—the Scripture doesn’t say why he signaled and didn’t speak, but I just wonder if the reason why he did is because he was speechless. I wonder if God so stunned him that, when he tried to search his brain to find the right words to come up with a description for the miracle that was happening in front of his eyes, he couldn’t even come up with the vocabulary to describe it!
I just wonder, if you’re being called to deep waters in your marriage, if the reason why is because He is setting you up to stun you speechless. If may be—never in your life, ever before—have you ever been in a situation where God has done something so grand that you couldn’t even describe it. The best you could do was just [silent gesture]. “Come see this marriage that was hanging on by a thread; but now is, not just still together, but we are happy, we are passionate, we are intimate. We are willing to pour into the lives of other people. Come and see this miracle that God has done!”
Y’all, He’ll not only do it in your marriage, He’ll do it in your finances. He’ll do it in your parenting. He’ll do it in your health. He’ll do it in your whole world. He’ll revolutionize your life where you can’t say a word! [Applause]
So, the foolish place of faith—if that’s where He’s calling you—I say we should take a cue from Simon and say: “At your bidding, I’m coming. It doesn’t make any sense; but Lord, at your bidding, I’m coming.” When you think about it, in the Scriptures, everybody who is someone notable—that we recognize in the Scripture and whose stories we celebrate--all of their stories started in the foolish place of faith. Can you imagine how Noah must have looked building an ark? Somebody probably said, “What’s an ark?” “I have no idea.” “Well, what’s rain?” “I don’t know.” [Laughter]
Can you imagine how silly Moses must have looked, stretching out his rod over that big old body of water, as if it would actually accomplish something? Can you picture Sarah shopping in the maternity department at K-Mart®—[Laughter] —on the promise that she would bear a son in her old age? Can you catch a glimpse of David, facing an enormous giant, with nothing more than a slingshot and a few smooth stones in his hands? Look at the Israelites, marching around the walls of Jericho for seven days with the inhabitants looking out at them—at the strangest battle plan they had ever seen in their lives! What about Esther going in, against protocol, to see the king, in hopes of saving her people?
Or Caleb, at the age of 85, refusing the retirement package, continuing instead to journey onward to the Promised Land? Or the wise men, following a simple star, talking about, “”We’re going to see the Messiah.” Or Peter, stepping out of the boat, when there was no solid surface to stand on? Or the little boy offering two simple loaves and fish to feed thousands of people? Or the woman, with an issue of blood, approaching Jesus? Or blind Bartimaeus being willing to call out to Jesus in the midst of a crowd? Or Mary, a pregnant teenager, saying, “An angel did it”? [Laughter] Or Jesus Himself hanging on a cross because He claimed, to an unbelieving people, to be the Messiah!
All of them would have looked foolish except for the fact that it did rain, and Noah’s Ark did become a refuge of salvation. Moses’ rod did divide the Red Sea. Sarah did get pregnant and bear the promised son. David did kill Goliath. The walls of Jericho did come tumbling down. Esther did save her people.
Caleb did march into the Promised Land. The wise men did follow the star and find the Messiah. Peter did walk on water. Blind Bartimaeus did become a seeing man. Mary did give birth to Jesus, and Jesus died on the cross--but y’all, then, He got up off the cross—[Applause]--and was resurrected for us. Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! [Applause] Thank you, Lord. Amen. Amen. It is that same resurrection power that is hanging over, like a banner, hanging over our lives today. Amen?
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your women. Thank You for this message of encouragement from the Scriptures. Would You help us to be the biblical models of women that You have called us to be, Lord?
We give our marriages to You. We give our heavy hearts to You, Lord. I give all tears to You in Jesus’ name.
I give every single prayer request that is in the recesses of the hearts of these women. I give them to You in Jesus’ name today, and we’re going to be expecting and fully anticipating that You are going to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything that we can ask or think to Your great glory.
In Jesus; name, all God’s sisters shouted and said—
Priscilla: Amen. [Applause]
Bob: That, of course, is Priscilla Shirer, speaking to a group of women onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise a while back. I think there was a little encouragement that was handed out in that session; don’t you think?
Dennis: I think there was. I think all of us, from time to time, just need the Book opened and be reminded who’s in charge and who we need to trust.
Dennis: Our hope needs to be in Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and what He teaches us about life. If you’re not doing that today, there’s probably not a lot you can give thanks for because, ultimately, I think the way we give thanks for the past year and current events today is by, ultimately, trusting that there is One who is in control—
—One who knows what’s going on and orders everything around us. He wants to use it in our lives to cause us to trust Him and cause us to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Bob: Well, a lot of people I know have been encouraged and equipped in that walk as they’ve listened to or read books by Priscilla Shirer. Her most recent book is called Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. Of course, this book comes out of the movie she was just in, called War Room.
We’ve got copies of Priscilla’s book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go online to order a copy. Our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, it’s FamilyLifeToday.com.
Our offices are closed today; but if you’d prefer to get in touch with us by phone, you can write down the number and contact us later: 1-800-FL-TODAY is our number—1-800-358-6329; that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Now, here on Thanksgiving Day in the US, we just want to say, “Thank you,” to those of you who make FamilyLife Today possible. You know who you are—those of you who are Legacy Partners, giving each month in support of this ministry, and those of you who, from time to time, will make a donation in support of what we’re doing. I know a lot of people start thinking about yearend giving at this time of year. If you’d like to consider making a yearend contribution to this ministry, we just want to say: “Thank you for even considering that. We are humbled that you would invest in what God is doing through the ministry of FamilyLife Today.”You can donate, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation. Or you can mail your donation to us at FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.
We hope you can join us again tomorrow. We’re going to hear from our friend, Dr. Dan Allender, who reminds us that one of the reasons we need each other is because all of us are a mess. We’ll hear a message from Dan tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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