Me and the Apostles…We’re Not All That Different

Welcome  Some might consider my title quite the bold statement today. But, honestly, I am so thankful that the stories of the apostles are shared in scripture, because we are able to see their real faith and their real struggles. How can we not relate to being called to do God’s good works, yet battling doubt, emotions, and questions? Also, there will be no post tomorrow, since I’m going to have another garage sale for selling my stock pile of teaching stuff.   Who doesn’t love a bargain, right?  I’ll see you on Monday. Note-I may receive a small compensation for advertisements and affiliate links found in this post. For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Me and the Apostles
While on our daily spiritual walk we have more in common with the apostles than we may have thought!

Food For Thought  What do you think of first when you think of Jesus’ apostles?  Do you think of great faith?  Do you think of sacrifice and struggle for the name of Jesus.  Do you think “God’s chosen?”  You might be thinking all of those things, but if we read and think a little deeper, we can find a lot more, and by that, I mean a lot more in common with ourselves.

The twelve apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4.  Besides their names, I find some of the description quite interesting, including Matthew “the tax collector” and Judas Iscariot, “who betrayed him.”  In those few verses we already know that these twelve chosen men are far from perfect.  I think God’s strategic plan included imperfect men to begin the earliest days of the church so they could be relatable to the rest of mankind.  It’s beneficial to our own studies when we read in the gospels and think, wow, I can relate to that!  And they were not the men of high standing or the teachers or rabbis.  Most of them were fishermen, common men doing the “daily grind.”  I believe this is an example of how God can choose some very unexpected individuals to serve in his name and also that you do not have to have a degree in Bible studies or Theology to serve, lead, and teach God’s word.  We lead people to Christ and to know God’s love and power by doing our daily grind, whether that be going to the office every day, running errands, or coaching our kids’ teams.

Some of the stories in scripture seem even more real when I contemplate the words of the apostles or infer their actions and feelings.  The familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5000 (Matt. 14:13-21) is one of them.  The disciples with Jesus are getting worried and nervous because of the large number of people and the late hour at hand.  Worried and nervous!  Even after all of the miracles they have seen and heard, they have these feelings anyway.  That definitely sounds familiar!They don’t believe everyone will get fed, and they want Jesus to send them away!  Of course Jesus says they can manage.  The Bible doesn’t actually use the word whining here, but I can only imagine how the disciples might have sounded when they said, “We only have five loaves of bread and two fish.”  We know that in the end everyone had their bellies full, and there were even baskets of food left over.  I think my actions reflect those of Jesus’ disciples most days of my life.  But God, I only have enough money to take care of my own family this week…there’s not enough to give to others.  But God, our budget is tight, how are we possibly going to manage all of the bills this month?  But God, I was just a kindergarten teacher, who will listen to little ol’ me?   Do you see what I mean?  It may not be bread and fish, but it’s the same lack of faith.  Luckily, like the disciples, I have Jesus in my life to remind me there will always be plenty of what I need.

Right after this story in Matthew, there’s another story of the disciples that is very relatable.  In chapter 14, verses 25-33, Jesus walks on water.  The disciples are scared, and Jesus has to call out to them and tell them to not be afraid.  Peter is skeptical…he says “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  It’s like he’s saying, Oh, yeah, prove it!  I’d like to think I haven’t ever called out, “Oh yeah, God, prove it!” but my thoughts and actions would show otherwise.  I know God told me He’d take care of me and give me all I need, but I’m going to worry until I see it for myself.  Or when I lack faith in what I feel God is calling me to do and I pray for Him to show me a sign, because I just don’t believe He’s really speaking to me.  And we know how this event turned out for Peter.  He tried to believe he could walk on water to Jesus, but his knowledge of his earthly surroundings was just too much.  He lost faith and began to sink.  If there is ever an apostle story I can relate to, it’s this!  Every time in my life I begin to lose faith, take my eyes off of God and Savior, and get taken in by the scary surroundings of this earth, I sink–big time!  I’ve felt myself slipping down, like Peter, and cried out “Lord, save me!”  And just like Peter, my Lord is there to reach out and save me.  Oh, for this I am so thankful!

These twelve men were chosen by Jesus to leave behind their homes and earthly belongings to follow him and grow the kingdom of Christian people.  We are expected to do this if we wish to do the work of the Lord.  And they were mortal men, as we are today.  We are not perfect.  We experience doubt.  We sin.  We struggle and face trials.  But we serve and spread the gospel to reach as many as we can, because it is the best kind of good news to share!

Today’s Scriptures  To be disciples of Christ, the expectations are high, there is no doubt.  Everything we say or do is in His name.  I recently read that when you are doing or saying something that you feel a little guilty about, add “In Jesus Name” to the end and it keeps your words and attitude in check.  Saying “I just hate her, in Jesus name,” doesn’t really sound so good, does it?

Matthew 16:24-25  “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

Luke 14:26-27  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.”   (As I read on, Jesus is not teaching a commandment of hate here, but illustrating the high cost of following him, and the need to always put Him before all others.)

Hebrews 12:1-3  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Today’s Recipe  We’ve been learning about the “loaves and fishes” story since we were in our earliest Sunday school and vacation Bible school classes.  Even at an early age, with the tangible image of food, we can teach kids about the Lord’s provision in all things.  It’s a good reminder for us grown-ups too, especially in times when it seems there just may not be enough of what we need, to trust that the Lord will provide.  In honor of the loaves and fishes of the story, I have a recipe today for Fried Catfish Sandwiches with Sriracha Mayo and Broccoli Slaw.  I realize this is probably a big step-up from what the disciples served the crowd of people, so it’s not necessary to point out the inaccuracies there.  It’s just a really yummy recipe to share with your friends and family, and my family voted this their favorite recipe of the week (even better than the Orange Ombre Cake from Monday!)

Fried catfish filets with sriracha mayo and broccoli slaw on a sesame seed bun.

Fried Catfish Sandwiches with Sriracha Mayo and Broccoli Slaw (this recipe makes up to 12 sandwiches)

  • For Broccoli Slaw
  • 1 10-oz bag of Eat Smart Broccoli Slaw Mix
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Broccoli Slaw
    Start with packaged broccoli slaw mix…just add a few ingredients.
  • For Sriracha Mayo
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS of Sriracha sauce (you can add more if you want a LOT of heat, but taste first…it heats up quick)
  • Combine ingredients in small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve
  • Sriracha Mayo
    Only two ingredients but a LOT of flavor!
  • For Fried Catfish Sandwiches
  • 2 1/2 lbs catfish filets or nuggets
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups self-rising white corn meal MIX (I used Aunt Jemima)
  • 2 TBS Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 6-packs of sesame seed sub rolls
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Sriracha Mayo
  • Place catfish in large bowl, pour buttermilk over fish, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In another dish mix together the corn meal mix and Cajun seasoning.  Heat oil in electric skillet at 350 degrees.  Take fish, one piece at time, and dredge in cornmeal mixture and place in hot oil.  Fry 4-5 minutes and turn, cooking an additional 3-4 minutes until golden brown and fish is flaky.  Drain and cool on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.  To serve, spread some sriracha mayo on a sub roll, place a catfish filet or a few nuggets, and top with slaw.

Products that may help with this post-and yes, these are the products I used, too! (links verified on 9/14/17 at 12:05 pm CDT):