Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Petros Journals- The Account Along the Shoreline


There is more to the story than just the resurrection, and there will be plenty more posts from this little project, but for today, I would like to share one of my favorite stories in the book of John, Peter's Restoration....

As one of the more meaningful passages of scripture to me and for my personal spiritual growth, I am really excited to get some feedback from you guys...
It was a beautiful day out and after struggling through everything the last few weeks we all needed something to get our minds off of our troubles. Our food supply had gotten really low and there was nothing really we could do but Fish. As we prepared to take off I began to think about everything that had taken place in our lives over the last three years. The first time I encountered Jesus was when my brother and I were fishing with our father. It was after we’d let him use our fishing boat to share his teachings that he asked us if we wanted to become fishers of men. While I still wondered what that really meant, I knew there had to be more to it than that. In many ways, I still ask myself about this today, even in my old age.

I don't think I really ever understood what those three words really meant, "Fishers of Men?" As my mind continued to ponder the things that we'd gone through, I began to see there was more to Jesus' teaching than I wanted to understand. There was something about him that drew me into what he taught us, I just didn’t know what it was. I remembered his teachings about seeds and bridesmaids, and about fish and nets, but I still had my reservations.

I knew I believed, but I still hadn't told Jesus what he meant to me and it was really weighing on my heart. I wanted that feeling to dissipate, but no matter what I did, it stayed. I didn’t know what it truly meant to understand the message of Jesus and of the purpose behind what he did.

As we launched our little boat out onto the sea in an attempt to gather some fish, nothing happened. We were out there for most of the day and the waters were dead, there was nothing we could do about it. It was hot, it was dry and none of us were feeling any better that he was before we took the boat out if anything we felt worse. What I’d done, in the midst of everything that took place with Jesus was eating me up inside. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle, my spirit was broken.

Just as we were about to give up for the day, we saw someone along the shoreline. We didn’t know who this man was but He just kept yelling "Do you have any fish." Because we didn't know who it was, we naturally we said no, but he just kept asking. The reality was that we really didn't have any and we could help the man anyway. We were about to give up ourselves.

Regardless of our attempts to ignore this strange man he kept waving to us and shouting those words. After what seemed like a few hours the man changed his wording. At first, we couldn't hear him so we pulled in closer, as we did, we heard. "Cast your net on the other side." We were all so exhausted but laughed on the inside,. "Who does this guy think he is," we thought.

We mustered up the strength to throw the net over and suddenly, we were overwhelmed. The fish were everywhere and almost turn our boat under. After a bit of struggle we managed to pull the boat closer to the shoreline, then John realized who it was. As he told us, my heart started pounding hard as if a resounding heavenly rain was beating down upon my chest. My heart jumped and I knew John was right, it was Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

I couldn't help myself, my deepest desire at that point was for him to know how truly sorry I was for my denial, how truly sorry I was for not standing by him when he needed me the most. I knew I had to reach out to him, I knew I had to go to him and nothing was going to stop me.

I pulled on my outer cloak and sandals and just jumped in. I swam for what only seemed like moment trying to get to him. I shouted, Jesus, My Jesus! When I finally hit the shoreline all my energy was gone, I could do was fall. I fell face down arms out and just waited before Him. I didn’t know what else to do, I had wronged him in every way when I denied I knew him and to me that was unforgivable.

Jesus bent down, pulled me up and simply said. "Peter, bring me some fish, let's share this meal together." It was still pretty cool along the shoreline and the day still seemed as if it was young so we all stayed close to the fire that was burning as we brought Jesus the fish. Together we all broke bread together and shared this last meal together.

Those few moments are still very special memories to me and I will never forget the lesson Jesus taught me that day. For me it was more than our last meal together, it was more than our last memory with Jesus before his ascension. It was life altering and I will never forget the lesson in love he shared with me that day.

Once we had finished our meal together, Jesus asked me the question. This is the question I had been dreading since that dark and misty night and this was a question I desperately needed to give him an answer too. Jesus asked "Peter, do you Love Me more than these?" Immediately I said "Yes, you know I love you." but he didn't seem to accept that, all he said was "feed my Lambs." A few moments later He asked again. "Peter, do you love me?" Again I answered, "Lord you know I do."

At this point, I was starting to wonder what was going on and then Jesus said: "Tend my Sheep." In my mind, I was thinking “what?” I didn’t understand. Then, Jesus asked a third time, "Do you love me?" My heart dropped, I denied him three times and now he's asked me this question three times, each one more loving to me than the last.

He must know that I love him, why doesn't he believe me. I just didn't understand. I thought that my answer was the right one, but could it be that I didn't? Did I really mean it the first two times or was I just saying it to say it? Did I really love him?

In my heart, I knew that Jesus was my brother, my teacher, my friend, my Messiah. I knew He was the lord of Lords, the king of kings. I struggled with it at first but today, Yes, I knew it. I believed it, I wanted to live it. So once again I replied. "Lord you know all things, You know that I Love you." Jesus, replied "Feed my Sheep. Follow me." It was at that moment, that I knew why Jesus had asked me that questions so many times, He wanted me to realize for myself that he was the Messiah and that I truly did Love him.

This love was more than just a word, it was more than just something to say. I loved him as if he was my own brother, he was my teacher and until that moment, I didn’t really know that. I was tired of the struggle of with what that truly meant.

I was tired of denying my true belief. I was tired of doubting who He truly was, a brother, a teacher, a friend and a Savior. No longer!

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Petros Journals- The Account of the Resurrection


Today is Easter Sunday, and I'm so excited to share this with you in honor of the fact that 


As I mentioned in my last post, I have been working on a new eBook project and today is the perfect opportunity to share the chapter on the Resurrection...So without further ado.... 


It was time; something needed to change. I had spent the past few days running from my guilt, running from my shame, running from my broken spirit. Instead of accepting my denial, I analyzed everything that had happened in my life until this moment. Mary had come into the upper room screaming that Jesus was no longer in the tomb. To be honest, I didn’t want to believe it. My mind was going through everything and coming up with any answer that would be more believable.

As I ran to the tomb where Mary had seen the angel, My heart raced. As a little bit older man than John, my legs would have generally given out by now, and I’d be on the side of the road trying to catch my breath. This time, however, it was as if I was a young fisherman again. In many ways, it felt as if I was floating. I simply couldn’t explain it. My heart continued to race as John, and I barreled past what seemed like a thousand people. Traveling upon the broken path would normally have given me a blister or two at the speed we were running, but this time it was not so.

John had gotten to the tomb first and was waiting outside the tomb.  I didn't want to wait any longer, I tumbled past him and into the tomb. What I saw was completely mesmerizing. His body was no longer there. All that was left was His coverings. Coming out of the tomb, I was simply in shock, to explain this would be impossible.

As I thought about what people would try to say I started to see a great light appear to John and me as well and I knew He was Alive. My opportunity to seek My Savior’s forgiveness for denying that I knew him. The tear I had seen fall upon His beaten cheek was still burned into the forefront of my mind, and I knew there had to be a chance, it may have been a small one but one nonetheless, I had hope that I could redeem myself.

I ran back to tell the others, and many of them struggled to believe my claim. Even when John tried to share the same news, the others were reluctant. They couldn't comprehend that Jesus had done as he'd promised, He told us he was going to raise up from the ashes of that cross and none of us, when it comes down to it, really believed it would happen. Then suddenly in the midst of the darkness, He appeared. The words he spoke, I will never forget. “Peace be with you as my Father hath sent me, even so, send I you.” It was only for an instant, but that instant lasted for what seemed like a lifetime.

Just as He had appeared He also disappeared, then Thomas came in, and we explained what had just happened, and all he could do was shout his disbelief.  “I will not believe until I see the wounds in his hands and the broken flesh upon his side.” I wanted him to see, I wanted everyone to see the miracle of Jesus breaking the barriers of death and hell and coming back to life. And yet, my heart still longed to see my savior again. I wanted His forgiveness, I wanted to tell him how much he meant to me.

A week later we were all enjoying some fellowship and worship together, and Thomas was with us. In the midst of our celebration, a bright and blinding light filled up the darkness of the upper room. We'd been living there since Jesus had appeared to us the first time. This time, however, the light was even brighter, blinding almost. As we all turned towards that corner of the room, we began to see the image of Jesus appear. At first, it was his nail pierced hands. Seeing them once again was indescribable, my heart was pounding, my spirit was awakening. It was a powerful moment.

Once his hands appeared, we started to see his once flesh torn arms come out as if they were brand new. As he continued to appear, his nail pierced feet made my heart race even more. Finally as his once broken and bloody face appeared as if it looked the first time I saw him. A single tear leaped out of my eye and upon my dirt stained cheek, and I couldn’t  help it any longer. It was as if something within the depths of my soul had broken through the walls of fear I had been building up and a new life was just around the bend. My tears flooded out of my eyes and all I could do was stand in awe of His amazing glory.

As Thomas began to see the same things we all saw the week before, he still relented. Jesus told him "Thomas, reach into my side and feel what had stricken me, reach into the wounds on my hands and feet." As he did this, he spoke: "I believe." Jesus' words in response to this really spoke to into our hearts. "Many of you believe because you see, but there will be those who believe and do not see." That statement struck us all in ways we will never forget. I know for me it was as if Jesus was saying we'd failed. I can only imagine what my brother Thomas felt.

My heart was beating so fast, all I wanted to do was cry out to my Savior and beg him for forgiveness, but in an instant, the glory that we had just witnessed began to fade into the darkness of that upper room once again. My heart dropped, and I fell to my knees, there was nothing more I could do. I wanted desperately for Him to know how sorry I was. With that light fading, all I could do was hide in the opposite corner of that upper room and wonder, "Will I ever have the chance to make this right, will I ever be able to tell my Jesus, just how much He meant to me?"

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Petros Journals- New eBook Project

Greetings Everyone, 

I bet you've all be wondering why I haven't been posting as much. I'm here to tell you there are a few reasons for this, but I will be writing about that another time. Today I am grateful to share with you all a new project.

This project started off as something I wanted to do for my own sake. I wanted to spend more time in the word of God and I thought studying the apostle Peter would be a great way to do just that. Well, little did I know that this project would turn into a full-fledged eBook. I was totally blessed by this project and have continued to be through my journey writing it.

I'm not sure how this is all going to turn out but I wanted to give all my readers here a first glimpse. This is a project that I have been writing from the apostle Peters perspective. It has been a pretty emotional revelation for myself and my hope is that those revelations will come across in the eBook once it is finished.
Here is the Summary....

Long ago, a simple fisherman witnessed the world change right before his eyes. As a fisherman he knew what change could bring and was reluctant at first to accept it but as time went on this simple fisherman learned the lessons of love, of life and of the light of God.
Through them he embraced a new way of living, he embraced the Savior of the world, Jesus. As we journey through the gospels from his perspective take heed, what you read may break your heart, what you witness through Peters eyes may change your life.
One thing for sure is that It will open your eyes to an entirely different perspective and that perspective will introduce you to a new approach to the gospel story.
Come, Join the Journey...

Here is the cover...

For now, I will leave it at that....

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott