Is Jesus a fairy tale? What do YOU believe?

What if 

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Was all just a…

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…Fairy tale.  

And all of this so called 

 

 

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“Hope”

 

 

“Hope”

Was just a fancy illusion?

What if this
story of 
Hope

Image was 

all just some

Pipe dream
for the weak of
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Would life still be worth

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                                        Would this 
                                                   existence still matter? 

How does 

Image

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Into all 

                                   of

                                      this? 

 

 

 

                                                                      Are we 

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Strong enough?

 

 

 

 

 

 

                      Strong enough….

 

Can we blindly

make that

     Image?

If 

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Then why not start now?       
                                                           Right Here
                                                              In the
                                                                    Here

                                                                           AND

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What difference will it make?  
                                                   Is it worth your time?  
                                                                           Will you gain anything?

Image                   Why not make that leap? 
                                                                                                 Hope has a way
 of 

                                                                                                           

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Breaking through

 

Faith can lead us 
                          even when we are 
                                                  blind.                                                  Why not? 
                                                                                                             What have we got to lose? 
Either Jesus is God
                                             and

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or 
we believe in a 
fairy tale.
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4me…
I would rather believe and be

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Than miss out on
                        the greatest
Image The world has ever known. 

So here is MY
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I willingly
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to

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And…

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                                         is this…

                                                                              Jesus believes in YOU 
                                                                                         and He 
                                                                                    madly loves YOU.

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Believe…are you ready to?                                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Jesus Fan Club”

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Perhaps you’ve seen the bible study or read some books which ask the question are you a “Fan” or are you a “Follower” of Jesus?  A fan would be one who sits on the sidelines, cheers (also complains when things aren’t going the way they expect them to go) but never really gets onto the field to do any of the real labor within the realms of faith.  

I don’t mean to rail against the Church…well maybe I do a little.  This isn’t about not loving people, actually it’s quite the opposite.   What can we do to change the perception of the Church?  What can we do to change the perception of the “Fan Club”?

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1.  It begins with You & Me:

We can’t change the polarizing views of some people who use the name “Christian” but do not act like Christians.  BUT we can change the way that we conduct ourselves and how we live in community with those around us.  It has to begin with you and me!  Without this internal determination to change, the “Fan club” wins.  

2. Move with Love:

When we allow it to begin with us and allow the Holy Spirit to move us we can’t but help to love and serve.  It’s about loving and serving the Almighty as well as loving and serving other people around us.  Faith has to have feet in order for it to change lives including our own.  We aren’t merely fans of Jesus, we MUST be His followers.  Love compels us forward even into places that we would never consider going because it is no longer about “Me” but it’s about “Him”.  

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We can tear down these walls that separate the Church from the “real world”…but it means that we can’t just take shelter in our buildings and presume people will find us.  Jesus didn’t hang out in temples for the entirety of His ministry here on Earth, He went to people, and if we are to be like Him, if we are to follow Him then we  ought to go to people too!  

Jesus doesn’t need anymore fans…He needs followers who are willing to do the hard work, not because hard work will get us into heaven, but rather because we have put feet with our faith.  Are you ready to move?  

-Just a thought.  

“Finding the Melodies of Life” (a metaphor of holiness) – Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

Orientation

(Music 101)

 “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.” -Michael Jackson

 

 I remember at the age of around seven years old, my father forced to me learn an instrument.  Now I say forced, but in his loving way, he convinced me to pick it up for the first time…but I would have to say he forced me to practice that instrument.  Before I could become a musician I had to become familiar with the instrument I was to play.  I can still recall picking up that cold metallic brass cornet for the first time.  It felt foreign in my hands.  This instrument, similar to those that I had heard great musicians play was now placed in my hands, and I had no idea how to play it.  The first thing I had to do in order to play it was to become familiar with how it felt in my hands.  I had to learn how to place my fingers over the valves in the proper manner, while sitting with correct posture, which I had a great deal of trouble learning.  These were things I had never considered to be important much less required of me in order play a musical instrument properly.  The orientation of the instrument is of the utmost importance for proper implementation for performing music.  

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3 (NIV)

If we are to become oriented with the music that God has placed in our very souls, we have to become oriented with the very God who created that music in the first place.  But it doesn’t stop with knowing this creator God; it then becomes all important to know how God has made us.  Our personalities, our temperament, our peculiarities are all vital to the orientation process.  If our desire is to fool ourselves or convince ourselves of something that is not true then we will never learn the true music of our souls.  In Romans 12:3, Paul reminds us of how important it is to have a sober judgment of ourselves.  In other words, look carefully in the mirror, be honest with yourself.  If we ever want to grow up in our faith, then true maturity begins with becoming familiar with who we are – faults and all.  Only when we begin to take a long hard look at who we are now, will we then begin to see who God wants us to be.   God has a whole different melody for us to play; it’s a new environment to explore and to learn, and if we never learn to understand who we are and who God has intended us to be, then we will never learn to play the music of our souls. 

Turning over that cold brass instrument in my hands so many years ago…I have a confession to make, I never thought I would ever be able to learn to play it.  The task seemed too daunting, my perception of myself – too limited, and if I had refused to become familiar I would have never learned to play the music. 

Many of us are like this; too limited.   Perhaps we never had someone to cheer us on or encourage us.  Maybe, our self-confidence is so small that even imagining God wanting us to play the music for Him seems too good to be true.  Some of us even think our abilities and our gifts will never amount to much, or are so insignificant that God won’t even notice if we don’t play.  But the fact of the matter is, God will notice, He DOES want you to play the music and He has been there from the beginning encouraging you to pick up your instrument of gifts and get oriented.  This experience requires faith, faith in our performance, faith in the music we’ve been created to play, and faith in the conductor (God) that He knows what He’s doing.  This, above all else, either propels us into the ultimate performance of our lives with faith in hand; or causes us, through doubt and fear to create sounds and noises that in no way reflects true music at all. 

 

God’s purpose for all of us is to be joined together, fitting perfectly into his symphonic masterpiece and once we are oriented and understand His will for our lives, we can begin to play, but first we have to know what we’re playing.

 

Orientation begins with the instrument…and it begins with you.   If music is to be played at all, an instrument has to be selected.  God has given us so much by way of gifts, abilities and talents, but if we don’t explore them we will never be able to master them.  Exploration into the instrument is vital.  If I had, on that instrument orientation day, picked up my brand new cornet and tried to play it from the wrong end it would have looked rather foolish or even downright embarrassing.  I had to first explore, touch, feel, hold and finally position the instrument properly in my hands.  When I understood how the instrument was to be held, how each valve coincided with the fingertips on my right hand and finally how my left hand was to hold the instrument firmly for balance and posture, then I was ready to move on to actually putting the cornet to my lips.     

 

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

 

Our orientation with God and what He has done for us is the most pivotal moment in our lives.  It can become the turning point, or the moment of clarity in which we decide that God, the great conductor, has a composition of complex melodies and harmonies waiting for us to play, if only we become oriented with what He has given us.  King David knew and was familiar with the ways of God.  He also recognized and acknowledged the way that God had made him: “Fearfully and wonderfully”.  When we become familiar or know them “full well”, as David states, we too then have begun our orientation of the part we are to play in this symphonic life. 

 

So don’t hold back, take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.  Recognize who you are, and who God desires you to become.  It can sometimes be painful when we see our glaring failures along the way, but these pains are necessary even vital to our growth.  It’s orientation time…take a look, I dare you.  

Finding the melodies of life (a metaphor of holiness) – Introduction

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Introduction

“Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”  -Ronald Reagan

 

The band begins to play.  Moments before, the sounds of their tuning and dissonant chords filled the theatre with broken parts, and sour notes as tuning slides, timpani, and valves are oiled and adjusted.  But as the music begins to be played by each musician, the notes that were once discombobulated and disjointed become unified, harmonious and beautiful.  The auditorium is alive.  Music is ignited!  The bandmaster, with baton waving erratically in the air, guides the musicians through the movement reminding them all of accidentals, dynamics, and key changes.  His role is no less important than that of the musicians he stands before.  Slowly and melodically the masterpiece, made up of notes on a page, reaches its climactic ending; and as the last notes are played, held out and released, there is brief moment of silence.  Within that brief moment, resides all of the work, all of the practices, all of the blood sweat and tears, and just as the last notes are released so too is the passion and love that the musicians have contained for so long for this musical composition.  It reaches out from the finale on stage, ever so slightly touching the listener, caressing their hearts and in turn drives them from their seats to their feet in accolades of fervor and joy.  This…is music!

 

Music is like breathing air, one needs to keep breathing in order to survive.  That is what I know about music!  Music is a part of me; it is sewn into the very fabric of who I am.  If one were to take out the stitching of melodies, harmonies, key changes, and accidentals; one would in some way begin to take away a very intrinsic part of who God has made this person to be.  Perhaps music doesn’t resound in all of us in the same way, but let me offer you an experiment in music for just a moment.  Have you ever experienced an epic moment in your life where you heard a composition of music, in any genre, that automatically pulled you back in time to another moment within your history?  One solitary second you are driving down the road listening to the radio, then this very specific song comes on and Bam, you are transported back in time to a point in your life where this very song is tied ever so tightly to an emotional or physical response.  Have you been there?  So have I, and this is how intrinsic music is to our very heart and souls.  It speaks to us beyond our hurts, beyond our joys, and calls us to take notice, to remember and to always embrace the melodies that God has placed inside of us all.  These melodies are so much more than mere songs heard on the radio or in music videos on Television.  They are the melodies we were created to perform in our lives, conjured up in our souls and in the very fabric of our being.  God has called us to sing or play the music of our souls on the stage of this life, not only for our own amusement or enjoyment alone, but because He revels in our creativity, He celebrates with our inquisitive hearts, and He wants us to play the music that we were created to play.  But the question that begs to be answered and hangs in the air like the last resounding notes on a page is this: do we know how to play the music? 

Some say that we can learn as easy as riding a bike, but what if no one ever taught us to ride that bike?  What if that parent wasn’t behind us pushing and cheering us on?  If you have ever wondered what melody God has called you to play, then this book, these prayer thoughts are for you.  If you have not wondered what tune has been placed in your heart, perhaps this is THE moment to begin exploring and plumbing the depths of your heart.  Believe it or not, God has planted that seed in your life to perform the tune of your lifetime for the world to see and hear.   We are called to play the music.  But how do we find our tune?  Do we even know how to play? 

 

This is where it all begins…Music Orientation 101 for the soul:

 

Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me
.” -Heni Nouwen

Finding Love

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I started with hope –

Imagebecause I think hope begins things

makes us sing…

but faith and love…they have to be included too. 

ImageImage

 

they just kind of go together don’t they? 

                                          You really can’t have one 

                                                                            without

                                                                                     the

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Every one needs,

                       craves, desires, 

                                   hopes, wishes, 

                                             dreams, aspires

                                                         yearns, waits 

                                                                             for   Image

 

Songs are written about it

                             poems are rhythmically charged with it

                                               countless books bleed from the heart of love.

How do we Image?

                                                                            How do we  

em·brace       IT?
emˈbrās/
verb
 
  1. 1.
    hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, esp. as a sign of affection.
    “Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly”
     

    hug, take/hold in one’s arms, holdcuddle, clasp to one’s bosom,claspsqueezeclutch;….

     

    How do we flourish and thrive in it   Image?

    Love makes the world go around…not money, not fortune and fame…but Image

     

    It shines in the darkness, 

    paints over our mess

    helps us confess 

    blesses us…love…

     

    captivates, motivates, escalates, elevates…us.

     

    Image

     

    Love always perseveres!  Always, always, always, always…always. 

    Image  Have you found love yet? 

    Is it worth finding at all? 

                                                 Image

     

     

     

     

     

    True love, 

    God’s love…

     

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    It begins here…ends here…

    If we find it here, 

                     and cherish it here

                                depend on it here

     

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    Then from here 

    to   —————————————–> There

     

    Love will be.  

                         Real authentic, 

                                           no hidden agendas

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    Strings attached…

                                                                       No…

    From the source of Love, 

    God. 

    Almighty

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    We will  

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    to the only 

    real source of 

    love.

     

    Find love today.

    He is waiting.

     

    With arms wide 

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    “Prodigal…welcome home!”

     

     

    Open.

     

     

    This.

    Is.

    Love. 

 

 

Begin with this one simple truth:
You are loved! You matter to God! You are important to Him! He loves you so very much! From this point of reference, may you find Him, and find love!

(These thoughts were written specifically for “Pastorsponderings.org” but they are free so that others might find love and hope through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen and to God be there glory!)

Finding Faith

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Did you know it was lost? 

              There are times when faith is misplaced or spent on the wrong kinds of things.  

It can consume us…

 

We place too much faith in…

                                                  this:  Imagethinking if we just had a little more of it we’ll be happier and better off

but it doesn’t ever seem to satisfy our longing for more.  

                                                                           Sure it staves off the hunger for a while, but soon…

 

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we hunger for more, and so our faith

in money is just never satisfied. 

 

 

Other times we place our faith in 

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friendship.  

Sure we need friendships, and relationships. 

We need to laugh and to cry and to have people in whom we 

can confide…

 

                           but…

 

when our friends become our faith

                            when we would do anything for their attention 

                                                     when faith turns into an unhealthy obsession

                                                                                            at some point 

These friends are NOT going to always be there for you…

                                                                              and so…

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Shattered

                                                                                     your faith in friends gets…shattered.

Finding faith in government or power is also equally devastating.

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                                                We can pour our souls into following a political candidate 

                                                                            or campaigning for a specific cause 

 

 

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and these are can be good things…

                                                        but it these faiths in government 

                                                                                     and

                                                                                          power

                                                                                             and 

                                                                                                 causes 

consume us

Image then we are no better than when we began to place our faith here.

Real faith.

        Real devotion

                 Real relationships

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Alpha and Omega (The Beginning and the end)

                          begin and end with the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God wants so desperately for us 

Image find our faith in Him.  

Faith isn’t some 

Image
“Stop wishing & start believing!”

wish list          

or dream

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This faith, right here, right now   is placing our whole being before a God who cares and loves us.  

Faith can be found.  

                                                   The question is 

                                                           are you prepared to look?  Image

 

 

 

 

 

(These thoughts are ideas were created specifically for “Pastorsponderings.org” for the expressed desire to intrigue, motivate and compel us to search for our own relationship with Christ.  This is free to share and use so that God’s message may be spread and heard.  May the Lord have all the glory and honor!)  

Knowing or Trusting?

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“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”…“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13, 15-16) 

Jesus looked at His followers and asked them a detailed demographic question.  It was a survey of sorts.  “Who do people say the Son of man is?”  In other words who do they think I am?  Jesus, more than likely already knew what others thought of Him and who He might be, but He asked His disciples.  Why did He do that?  Why ask if He already knew the answers?  

Perhaps the reason Jesus asked His disciples this question was to help them finally pin down who Jesus was in their hearts and minds.  He first asks them about how others viewed Him.  It is an the greater perspective, but then Jesus brings it back to them when He said, “But who do YOU say that I am?”  Notice the personal question.  Now the tables have turned.  Now the disciples are glancing at each other hoping someone will answer first.  It is one of the most pivotal moments in their spiritual education as Jesus’ disciples.  This one solitary moment of internal reflection.  It is a moment that causes each disciple to carefully inspect what He has done and what He has said.  For but a moment, doubt and worry must have clouded their minds. For but a moment each individual, not the collective, considered the right words to say to Jesus. It was mere moments but it could have been a lifetime.  

Is it no surprise that Peter is the one to speak?  He was the disciples that climbed out of the boat when all of the others waited and watched Jesus walking on the waves.  The same Peter who seemingly dove head first into anything he did.  It was all or nothing with Peter.  So Peter speaks up and nails Jesus’ identity for the group gathered there.  “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God“.  Can you say hashtag #nailedit ?  Peter solidifies for the rest of the disciples as he identifies Jesus.  It’s been nearly three years that they have been together, didn’t they already know?  Didn’t they already trust THE Rabbi?  

I think the question here that begs to be asked for us today is this:  “Who do we think Jesus is?” Can we quickly respond as Peter did?  Can we identify Jesus as God’s Son and Messiah to us as well?  Is He your Messiah?  

You see I believe there is a big difference between knowing Jesus and trusting Jesus!  James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”  You could substitute the word ‘believe’ for the word ‘know’.  Even the demons know Jesus.  That is a big difference from fully trusting in Him though.  Trusting Jesus means that we have to let go of our preconceived notions.  It means that we have to relinquish our self-reliance.  It means that we have to place our faith in something other than ourselves or something seen…but in the unseen.  

Do you trust the Son of God?  Have you let go of your casual understanding of Him?  Are you prepared to delve into the waters of faith?  Don’t just settle for knowing Jesus, trust Him also!  Peter declared boldly “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”; may we have this same boldness in our faith to do likewise today!  

-Just a thought for today.

  • Simply trusting every day;
    Trusting through a stormy way;
    Even when my faith is small,
    Trusting Jesus, that is all.
  • Trusting as the moments fly,
    Trusting as the days go by,
    Trusting Him, whate’er befall,
      Trusting Jesus, that is all.

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Faith – A Rules Changer

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My daughter is five years old, and already she is very clever.  If you ever cross her, I don’t envy your position because she is the most cunning strategist that I know at the age of five.  

It all began with a game.  Actually it started when she wanted something that her twin brother had, and she was determined to have it and get it her way.  So she played a game with him.  It was a kicking game, and she made up the rules right then and there.  In a very commanding voice she told her brother, “If I kick you I win, and if you kick me I win and I will win the mask“.   -the mask was what she wanted from her brother.  She had devised a game with rules in place in which the outcomes would benefit her either way.  At no point in this game would her twin brother, who is taller and quicker than she is, have an edge or even a chance to win.  

My daughter’s cleverness made me laugh.  In part I was proud of her for being quick on her feet, yet surprised at the lengths at which she would go just to obtain what she wanted most.  She had devised a strategy in which she could outsmart her brother even though she knew that she was no match for his physicality.  

Sometimes life is kind of like that isn’t it?  We are greatly outmatched and the thing(s) that we want so badly are just beyond our reach.  We want our families to be closer, our health or the health of loved ones/friends to be better, our financial situation more profitable, our jobs more enjoyable, love and respect that goes unfulfilled.  Life can sometimes be like that cruel master which dangles a carrot in from of a donkey just to get it to work and be productive.  We want so desperately to change the rules, to make a life more to our advantage…to win.  But what do we really desire to win?  Will we truly be happy?  Can we really change the rules in life?  

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How does faith play into this thing called life?  Is faith important?  The simple answer is YES, absolutely!  Despite how much we might plan for every contingency and strategize for every positive outcome, life doesn’t play according to our rules.  Life can sometimes be unpredictable and we can find ourselves grossly out of winning options.  But faith isn’t some wild card or last resort.  The key is the source behind our faith.  If our source is simply our own powers and motivations we will eventually face disappointment and discouragement.  But if our source is God, in whom made all things and our faith takes us to the understanding that we are indeed loved and important to the Creator then regardless of what happens to us we can have this immeasurable unending faith.  

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 Faith is a rules changer.  Faith can propel us from self-sufficiency to something much more sustainable and everlasting…if we allow it to grow in us.  Are you willing to let this kind of everlasting faith take root in you?  Give it a try and perhaps you will begin to see life in a whole new perspective.  

-Just a thought.  

Deserters and Grumblers

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John 6:61-69 (NIV)
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”  From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus’ words are stuck in my head, “You do not want to leave too, do you?“.  I envision Jesus looking at Simon Peter with drawn face of sadness  and a heavy heart as the dust cloud of the deserters slowly cleared the air.  People Jesus had spent time with, people with whom He had invested Himself in, they were gone and would never return to the fold.  They were AWOL and some where in the minds of the disciples perhaps there was this lingering decision whether or not to follow them.  Many who had heard Jesus teach that day had trouble swallowing the teaching.  They wrestled over His words, which led to the dispersal of some.

Still today, there are those in our churches who come listening for the sweetness of the Word, but run quickly away when its truth finally sinks in.  Pastors are also included in this group.  Every person who encounters the truth of Jesus must face this, and He looks at each of us as the dust is slowly clearing and says, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Some of us hesitate, many wishing to walk away also.  Dare I say that there have been days, in which I’m ashamed to admit that I have wrestled over His truths also.  But read again the words of Simon Peter and imagine yourself saying these words to Jesus as well, “”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”   Can such certainty come from your heart today?  Do you have this assurance in your walk with Him?  It doesn’t matter if you are preaching to a congregation of 5 or 500, is His truth still on your lips, in your words and in your heart today?

Some will walk away from your church because they simply cannot fully commit to Him.  It is just as tragic as the day it happened to Jesus so long ago.  Some, who have been in the pews for years, may one day come to this conclusion as well.  Others, perhaps the light will come on and they will experience a deeper sense of Christ as they take such steps to a deeper faith in Him.  But it matters little whether people hate you and the consistency of Christ in you, remember what Jesus Himself said to his disciples; “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)  Be consistent in your faith!  Be persistent in the need for others to receive this faith as well!  Be unrelenting in this love of Christ, even when it comes at the cost of friendships, loved ones, and even fellow pew dwellers.  Don’t be haughty or prideful either with His truths.  Don’t lord it over anyone or feel as if you are better than anyone either.  Remember Christ wants servants to love and to shine, not tyrants and judgmental hypocrites.

Desertions will take place, grumblers will come and go, but remain faithful to Him and declare as Simon Peter once did, “”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.

-Just an encouraging thought for you today…keep on fighting the good fight!

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