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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Two Letters

Letter Number One

Dear Jesus,

Iíve been a believer now for about a week and you are not what I expected. This letter is to say good-bye. I have thought it over and it seems it is time we part company. I have had all this pain and suffering lately and since youíve not seen fit to fix me or fix any of my problems, I think it best if I went my way and you went yours. No offense of course, but what is a god good for if you canít get what you need when you need it from him. Iíve certainly done my part for you the last few days and since you donít seem to be able to do your part for me, whatís the use? I should have known something was wrong when I would pray for you to do things and then nothing would happen. So now it is time for me to look out for myself since no one else seems to be interested. I thought I would get a lot of good out of you for being what all the church-folk call ďfaithfulĒ but if you are not going to deliver the goods when I need them, I might as well not be faithful anymore. In this old world, seeing is believing and since I canít see you, why believe? I donít think living without you will be a problem because living with you didnít seem to make any difference. The last few days I forgave my enemies but they still beat me up so the next time around I am going to take them out and then I wonít have to forgive them anymore. Yesterday I tried to do good things for other people but they spit on me so now I am going to spit on them. Today I tried to live in peace but since no one else wanted peace, now I am going to make war. This whole god and belief thing is really a big hindrance anyway. I tried doing without all the sin stuff for a few days but life is no fun so back to sin I go. That Ten Commandments thing, well, I tried those and all that did was keep me out of jail. No really big benefit if you ask me. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize there is not really any right or wrong so why bother with commandments. Everything is a shade of gray. Some of these Christian people talk about burning in hell. Since there is no right and no wrong there canít be a hell for doing wrong. All this trash about taking care of your brother or being your brotherís keeperÖits all a joke because I tried that and I didnít get anything out of it, so why bother? People tell me how you are in control of the world. How stupid do they think I am? They donít seem to realize no one controls anything in the world, especially you. Iíve seen people ďcelebratingĒ who say they are believers but there is no reason to celebrate. What these people need to do is get a real clue about what is going on in the world and go out and get drunk. I thought when I became a Christian I would have power over people and get people to serve me and take care of my needs. Instead, what I got out of this religion thing is that I am supposed to serve other people instead of having them serve me. What about me and what I need? Sure, Iíve had big problems but if you arenít going to help me, why should I believe in you? I need people to do things for me and they have not delivered. I thought when I became a Christian I would get more help out of people but all I got was a lot of talk, talk, talk. All these church people are a bunch of hypocrites. People talk about counting your blessings. Well, if you had done more for me and if other people had done more for me, I would have some blessings to count, but no one has delivered so I donít have any blessings. I donít want to bother taking up my time going to church when I would rather watch TV. With TV, I donít have to bother going somewhere. Just hit the remote and there you go. There is no use working to build up anything for yourself because someone will always come along and take it away anyway. I thought being a Christian meant I could get a job from one of the believers but no one offered me a job so I am going my own way. I needed some cash to get me by for a few days but no one offered to give me any money. People wanted to pray with me but since you donít listen and you donít deliver, the whole praying thing is a big joke if you ask me. Well, thatís about it. Iíve had enough. So long and good-bye.

Signed,

An Unbeliever

Letter Number Two

Dear Jesus,

How I love you! I am sorry for what I said in my letter to you a few months ago. I was wrong about everything. A few weeks ago I thought for sure I was going to die. I got really sick and thought everything was going to come to an end. I didnít think I loved life but I found out different. I didnít think I needed you but I do need you. I was selfish and I am so very sorry. My pain and suffering are not your fault. I thought you were making me suffer but I was wrong. I was selfish in thinking you would come and change my life for me, but I was wrong. I can see now you give me power to make the changes myself. You give me strength rather than doing things for me because with you I am not totally helpless. I realize now that my faith must never be about what you do for me but what I do for you. I know you have already done it all for me when you died for me on the cross. I went my way but my way is the way of personal and spiritual death. When I went my way I had no life in me other than the life that keeps my body alive. I have gained a little wisdom and now I understand my life is about doing for you as my Lord and Savior and not about what you do for me. I have come to know I may never get what I think I want and need in this life but when I die all the wants and needs I could ever have will be filled to overflowing. When you donít seem to answer my prayers I understand I must be patient and that you work in ways and answer my prayers in ways I cannot understand. I know that every prayer I pray gets answered in your whole grand scheme of eternity. What a wonderful God you are! I tried looking out for myself but found I live in a world of others who are in desperate shape and who need more help than I do. I discovered the more I tried to look out for myself the farther away from your love I got. I learned being faithful means never letting go of you and being faithful means never letting go of the love you have placed in my heart. In my faith, I have learned to love you without seeing you, hearing you, and having any physical proof you are real. Living without you was not just a problem it was a disaster. Living without you made me homeless, a fugitive from the law, then when I was caught, a prisoner. Through you I have learned to be responsible, to care about others even when they do not care about me, and to pull myself up by my bootstraps. When others have hurt me or attacked me, I have learned to forgive them and let the hurt go away. Forgiving others has given me a freedom from the hurt and pain I have felt for years. Forgiving others has given me a personal freedom I never knew a person could feel. I used to make war against people. I used to start fights and start arguments. What a fool I was for doing this. Now I make peace. I make peace within myself. I make peace within my relationships. I have come to even make peace with you. I know now and fully admit I am a sinner. I have, with all the power within me, turned away from my life of sin. I fully accept you as my Lord and savior. My life was full of tragic mistakes because of my sin. I have done terrible things and other people have suffered terribly because of me. With your help I will apologize and make amends as much as I can because I am so sorry for what I have done and for the hurt I have produced in the lives of others. Sin is not fun. Sin nearly destroyed me and is destroying others. Living by the Ten Commandments is a way I can preserve my life. Living through you is a way I can prosper. I realize now there really is a right and wrong in all matters. There is no shade of gray. If there are doubts and questions or there are unknowns it is because I do not know what you want or what your will might be in a certain situation. Iíve also come to realize Heaven and Hell are real places. I know the fire of the outer darkness is a fire in me that I have already seen too much of in my life. In this world I also now believe I am my brotherís and sisterís keeper because I can see how lost my brother and sister are without you in their heart. I can also see how tough it is to keep the faith so I now try to encourage and sustain other Christians. I used to think Christians were hypocrites for saying one thing and doing another but I understand now how many Christians make mistakes and how much they really do want to do the right thing. I do not know how much of the world you control. I do know I am trying to give you as much control of my heart as I can. I know for certain the world would be a lot better place if other people let you have more control over their life. I did not understand why people celebrate in their faith, but now I understand people celebrate because they have been given eternal life and a present joy unspeakable. I donít drink alcohol or use drugs anymore because if I drink alcohol or use drugs the booze and drugs takes away some of my sense of joy and happiness I have found in you. I now can testify you are my helper. I was lost in the world with a host of problems. I still have problems but now I have a handle on my life because of you. Instead of expecting others to help me, I now try to help them. Finding you was the biggest blessing of my life. Thank you for this time together. Thank you for being my friend. Precious Lord Jesus, I love you.

Signed,

Now A Believer

This message appeared as the August, 2004, Virtual Church message in Shepherd's Care Ministries virtual church site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONģ. NIVģ. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018