Wednesday, March 4, 2009

OnFire #179 Hook Line and Sinker

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #179 Hook Line and Sinker

Hi Folks:

We’re on March break this week in New Brunswick. The boys are doing their normal non-school thing - sleeping in, playing video games, hanging out with friends.

Mark is better. He had the cold last week and is recovering. His cough diminishes everyday, and he has his energy back. He, Ian and Taka even shovelled yesterday after the latest storm.

Because it was March break, I got to leave the bulk of the shovelling to them. I liked that. I’ve developed some pain in one of my feet, so I’ll see the chiropractor on Friday.

For those who like to blog, I have created a blogsite at

That’s all for now. Blessings for your week.
One of my favourite late summer activities is mackerel fishing. I have had never much success with trout, but mackerel are different. In late summer they school near the shore and enter bays and harbours, where we fish them from bridges and wharves. When the time is right, it is possible to catch them continuously.

Mackerel are good fighters and when one hits, you know something is on the line. I love that feeling when a big fish tugs and runs.

The other thing I love about mackerel fishing is that they are not very discriminating bait-takers. With trout, a lure that worked one minute might not work the next, and the fly that was so successful for a friend doesn’t mean a thing to the fish I visit.

Mackerel, on the other hand, will take real and artificial minnows, red devils, spoons, feathers, worms, dough, hot dog, bits of fish - I’ve even taken them on pieces of orange peel. That’s my kind of fish! When they’re biting, they’ll take just about anything.

I do have some sympathy for mackerel as I sprinkle on the salt and pepper. They don’t know they’re being lied to. They’re just grabbing something they think they want. A free meal. A morsel of comfort food. A tidbit to break the fast. I suppose the bait looks like something they know in the water, but I’m at the other end with my rod and reel and my frying pan is warming up at home.

Why the long digression into fishing? Not because trout season opens next month. This is the language James uses to talk about temptation. "...but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." (James 1:14)

It is important to understand that there are two major sources of temptation. Our enemy, Satan, loves to tempt us, as he did to Jesus. James tells us later, in 4:7, "to resist the devil and he will flee" from us.

The other source of temptation is within our own soul. The people in James’ day blamed God for their temptations. He reminds us that God does not tempt us because it is not part of his character. If we want to place blame, we need to look carefully at ourselves.

Temptations rise up from within us because of our wants and desires. We are not so different from the mackerel. We are lured by something we want. When it flashes in front of us, we blindly grab at it. We think this is our chance. Only later do we realize we were hooked and dragged away. Gain by theft. Intimacy through immorality. Power through corruption. Control by violence. Security by selling out.

As I read this, I see a warning to recognize my desires for what they are and realize they leave me open and vulnerable. That way, I can ask for God’s strength and resist the devil instead of taking the bait.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published March 4, 2009. *Bible references taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

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