June 24

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 29
     Psalms 119:49-72
     Isaiah 56
     Matthew 4
''And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men '." (Matthew 4:19)
            It is not without significance that the Savior referred to evangelism as ''fishing for men." Possibly, this approach was considered the most suitable to attract the rugged fishermen of Galilee, for this language was perfectly understood by many of His early followers. Peter, James, and John had fished all their lives, but now Jesus was introducing them to a new kind of fishing.
            When I was a boy, my dad took me fishing on a fairly regular basis. I learned about various kinds of fishing. We often did ''single-hook' fishing in salt water, which occasionally resulted in a very large fish being caught and dragged into the boat. I also learned about ''trawling'', which was usually for shrimp, but sometimes for certain kinds of school fish. On occasion, we went ''deep-sea'' fishing, where the boat would take us to schools of large fish, and there was usually a contest for who caught the largest fish. I also enjoyed ''fresh-water'' fishing for bass and trout. The experience was exciting whether a fish was caught or not. Then my dad taught me how to ''trot-line'' fish. This was usually for catfish. A line with many hooks was stretched into a part of the river, and every hook was baited. We usually did this kind of fishing at night and, when the trout line was run, there was almost always several fish that had been snared by the bait on the hooks.
             Even as a boy, I discovered there are different kinds of fishing for different kinds of fish. This was also true in the spiritual realm. The bait, the methods, and the preparation may all be different, but the goal is the same-toland the fish. That is why Jesus wanted these disciples to know that they were called to the priority task-beinga ''fisher of men."
The sad thing is that many believers spend all of their time reading about fish, baiting the hook, studying techniques of fishing, and even beginning organizations about fishermen. All of that, however, is secondary. The main thing is to catch the fish. It is written that when Jesus called Simon Peter to discipleship, He said, ''Simon, launch out into the deep, let down your nets for a draw." (Luke 5:4)
            Whatever your type of fishing, the bottom line is, no fish is caught until he is either in the boat or in the basket.
DawsonTrotman, who is the founder of the Navigators organization, said…''If a believer is not fishing, he is not following." Jesus has not called us all to be preachers or teachers, but He has called all of us to be fishers of men. Are you fishing for men today?
            NorthernIreland, which has almost 2 million people, represents an enigma. These are church-going people - the great majority, both Protestant and Catholic, are regular in church attendance. The decline elsewhere in the BritishIsles is less evident in Northern Ireland. Catholic percentage is slowly increasing and that of the largest Protestant body, the Presbyterians, decreasing. There is a greater interest in Northern Irelandin sending out missionaries than in any other part  of the BritishIsles. Pray that this generosity in giving of money and personnel for world evangelization may continue.
''It seemed to me as if he had gone straight into heaven, and lost himself in God; but often when he had done praying he was as white as the wall."
A friend's comment after meeting Tersteegenat Kronenberg