UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

September 2007 Monthly Letter

The lost necklace and the liberating power of God's Word when applied!

Phil is 64. Twenty five years ago he proudly received his "first year pin" from Gamblers Anonymous. A casino was built near his home. He secretly began yielding to temptation.

On Tuesday, Lori, his wife couldn't find a necklace. She thought it may be in the attic with their suitcases. She looked and was shocked to find recent I.O.U.'s. In disbelief and anger, she confronted Phil. He sorrowfully confessed. The time was tense. On Friday they came to the Seasoned Saints session. Phil learned he was "a saint-set apart one" even though a "sinner". 1 Cor. 1:2; that he was "precious in God's sight." Isa. 43:4 though he felt "worthless."

During the Family Session, they huddled with their family. Phil heard each member speak from Mt. 3:17 that "He was a beloved husband and father, with whom they were pleased but with what he had done they were deeply wounded and felt betrayed." Next Phil began to put into practice saying the words of the prodigal son, "I have sinned", will you forgive me?" Lk. 15:21 Most of his family painfully chose to forgive him, some were not yet ready to do it.

At the Men's Session Saturday morning, Phil and the men memorized Roms 5:8 in the Personal Version: "But God showed His love for Phil in that while Phil was still a sinner, Christ died for him." After this each of the men left the room to get alone with the Lord and confess his sins outloud using David's exact words of confession from Ps. 51:1-12. Upon returning each man memorized 1 Jn 1:9 and then spoke these words as an assurance to one another that God had faithfully forgiven and cleansed them. Phil's partner was his son, Dan!

Later, Phil participated in forgiving himself through a symbolic "pounding of a nail in a cross laid out on the floor" as a response to the teaching of God's Word in Cols 2:13-15. He then prayed as a "priest" according to Rev.1:5-6 for his family, each member individually with his eyes open as he held a lit candle before a recent family photo. During this session he also wrote individual notes to each of his family members, expressing his personal sorrow for betraying them and also expressing his love for each. Mk 1:11

At the end Phil asked to talk to me. He led me to the sancturary and told me all of the above.

On Sunday, Lori joined Phil for the Church Leaders' Session. We began by symbolically washing a partner's hands in reference to Ps. 24:3-4 and then silently confessing our sins. I could see the Holy Spirit working as Lori and Phil each participated in this biblical exercise. Afterwards Lori met privately with me and expressed that through all these Bible verses the Lord was giving specific ways to begin to release her anger, broken trust, and deep hurt.

At the end of the worship service, I asked those who were "going through a down time in their lives" to stand as a response to the Holy Spirit's prompting, to be prayed for by the Body of Christ. Both Phil and Lori shot up from their pew like a volley from a cannon! I joined their family and friends in Christ as we laid hands upon them and prayed Isa 41:10 outloud: "Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."

Thank you for allowing me the blessed privilege of "bringing good tidings to the afflicted...to bind up the brokenhearted...to proclaim liberty to the captives..." Isa. 61:1 God's Word is ALIVE!

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