Staying With a Hard Teaching

God speaks into our condition with the aid of scripture, teaching, circumstances, and other people. If we’re tuned into the Spirit who lives in us, we understand what God is saying to us. The Holy Spirit is who Christ said “will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”


The passage about a group of disciples leaving Jesus in John, chapter 6 came to mind and gave me necessary insight as I was having a conversation with friends in recovery.

Someone described how his life had been before recovery and this is the passage his story made me think of.

“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ … 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.'”

The epiphany for me was discovering that I had seen Jesus the same way Peter did. Unlike the disciples who left because they didn’t think they could follow such a “hard teaching,” I was willing to stay with Jesus and let him teach me how to obey and live by that hard teaching.

Then to paraphrase Peter, using my personal experience, I asked “To whom and to what would I go? Why would I want to leave you and go back? That lifestyle almost killed me and without the benefit of eternal life through you.”
I thank God for the Holy Spirit living inside me. I don’t deserve it, but because I decided to trust Him, God entrusts me with His presence in me.

Wow.

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I Have Here in My Hand

I don’t really have a list in my hand. I don’t have a band to give me a drum roll. But –– ta-da! –– here’s a list of the Top Ten posts from 2016. Here in my corner of the world, I enjoyed taking stock and reviewing the past twelve months.

Writing The Fruitful Life is its own reward so I don’t get into looking at hit counters and other stats too much. I don’t have crowds of followers. Frankly, I’d rather write and convince people to follow Jesus.

However, it’s nice at the end of the year to see which posts were favorites of the readers.

The list of the Top Ten Posts from 2016 (in order) might give you an idea of the tastes of the readership. When I do take time to look at stats, it’s also fun to see that readers come from all over the world. In November, when The Upper Room published a devotion I wrote, people flocked to the blog through the link UR supplied. That was kind of fun.

In addition to this list, people cruised the “About” pages and the Archives. I’m not savvy enough to know how it all works. But like I said, writing about my faith and hobbies in which I’m involved is the best reward. Most of these posts are faith-based.

Anyway, here’s the list. Click on the links if you’d like to read them. If you’ve been reading for a while, did you have one you particularly liked that didn’t make the top ten list?

  1. Mom’s “Notes to Self”
  2. Follow Your Heart?
  3. A Visit to Zootopia
  4. Goin’ Fishing
  5. Calm
  6. Storefront Churches
  7. Foodie, Zucchini and Grace
  8. Live Christmas All Year Long
  9. Five Ways to Tell if Someone Loves Jesus
  10. A Three-Word Prayer for Serenity

Ten Things I Can’t Do While Writing And What To Do About Followers

Besides re-blogging a post from another WordPress blogger, I haven’t been busy with The Fruitful Life lately. I haven’t any excuses; just a few reasons.

In March, I spent a week in the hospital and when I got home, spent more than a week catching up. (No details; it’s all too ugly). My life had been interrupted by something that, while necessary, was a pain in the neck. That’s not to say, neck pain was why I was hospitalized, but you get my meaning.

When I told a friend how frustrating it was, she said, “I know your personality too. You needed to have everything back in order immediately, didn’t you?”

She knows me well. That’s why I can call her a friend. However, things didn’t get into order immediately. Since I didn’t have Internet for a while and I was locked out of my laptop to boot, I had to go to the library to use their computers. I told you it was ugly.

A Broken Pencil
I thought about getting back to the blog because I hadn’t posted in so long. I even had a couple of back burner articles to post. But it seemed my pencil had been broken and writing got put on hold a little longer.
broken pencil

To tell you the truth, real life just plain got in the way of the writing life. Members of my writers’ group tell me it happens to them too. I just never thought it would happen to me. So here I am blogging again and I have to acknowledge things that I simply cannot do at the same time I’m writing.

1. Work on my Bible study
2. Engage in a hobby
3. Housework
4. Gab on the phone with my son, daughter and grand kids
5. Listen to the Detroit Tigers on the radio
6. Watch that new release movie I want to see
7. Shop for groceries
8. Sit down and pay the bills
9. Cook and eat a meal
10. Sleep

You may argue that some items on the list aren’t necessary for my household to stay up to snuff. To that I say, “All work and no play…”

Is Anybody Out There?
When I got back onto the blog, I noticed The Fruitful Life had nothing listed under Top Posts & Pages. There had been traffic, but not enough to rate, I suppose. Funny. I took a keen look at Twitter and the number of  ‘followers’ had done some wild stuff there too.

The surge of emails in my absence let me know I had new followers, but the actual number shown on Twitter didn’t reflect that. I’ve never been that great at math, but something didn’t come out right.

Now, I’m not all that concerned with numbers. It’s why I don’t have a counter on my blog or a notice below the Follow button saying how many people do (follow). The Twitter thing was one of those strange deals I just shook my head over. I figured as far as “followers” are concerned, I needn’t get too upset about it.

Not little old me.

Jesus, the sinless Son of God, lost followers too. Because he said some fairly harsh things and some outright difficult-to-understand things, folks stopped following. (See John 6:60-66) I haven’t used the term “brood of vipers.” I haven’t suggested people are going to hell. Nevertheless, I can’t consider myself in the same league as Christ Jesus.

[As an aside, if I really thought about the lives at stake, I would talk about hell. Gently. Accurately. Truth be told, quoting Jesus’ words about hell for a good reason would be more responsible than misquoting scripture to suit my own uses.]

Anyway, since the blog is supposed to reflect joy in my spiritual journey, I needed to write about this period of not facing the page in front of me. Writing is one of those things I feel very strongly God has given me a talent for and a calling to do. Besides, the writing itself gives me joy.

Now that I’m home and the groceries are bought, the laundry’s done, the bills are paid, I talked to my kids, and I even watched a new release movie, my broken pencil is back in action.

You’re certainly welcome to “follow.”