UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

April 2009 Monthly Letter

"Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another." Colossians. 3:13

Paul was once a farmer in Iowa who was cheated out of his inheritance by both his parents and younger brother. Since then he has been employed by Land O Lakes. Recently this "born again" believer finally admitted his OWN sin of unforgiveness rather than focus only on the sin of his family members. He obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit in a way that surprised himself, his natural family, church family, and me. O how the Resurrection Power Lives On!

We first became acquainted at the Friday evening Family session. Our new friendship was enhanced by his attendance at the Saturday sessions for Men and Couples, and the Sunday morning Leaders session. His faith in Jesus Christ was quite evident by his conversation with others and myself.

At the close of the Sunday morning worship, I gave the congregation an opportunity to respond to any nudging of the Holy Spirit to pray with me a prayer of salvation. A direct appeal was made "For those who have NEVER prayed such a prayer OR who ARE NOT SURE if they have prayed such a prayer." This was reiterated so that the people would know that this prayer is for "first-timers" only!

When I asked those who had prayed that prayer to raise their hands, Paul did so!. He, his family, and I were totally surprised by his action! After the benediction, my puzzled nature led me to express my surprise and ask him to describe what led him to pray and outwardly respond!

Here is what he said: "I prayed to receive Jesus years ago but today as I listened to the words of the prayer, the Spirit opened my eyes to see for the "first time", my OWN sin of NOT forgiving my parents and brother. Up to today, I could only see THEIR SINS against me! Like the song says, 'Once I was blind, but now I see.' Today, I saw for the first time my own sin against them! Amazing, isn't it?

So I prayed the Father and Jesus part of the prayer in this way: Father, I admit that I am a sinner by not forgiving my parents and brother. I also admit that I have not loved them like You love me-in spite of their sins. Jesus, today I put my belief in You as my Savior from my sin of unforgiveness and my belief in Your blood that cleanses me from this particular sin and any other sin to which I am blind."

Paul went on to share some more of the pain he has experienced through this broken relationship. He hasn't spoken to his mother in 19 years. The last time was when he went to visit his father in the hospital. Upon entering the room, his mother began to yell, "What are you doing here! You have no right to be here! Get out of here." The hospital security staff came and finally escorted him and his two adult sons out of the room. Paul said, "Now that I'm forgiven of my sin of unforgiveness of her, I am going to trust the same Spirit to open my eyes to ways to mend this long time broken relationship. It's not right BUT in time He can right the wrong! Right?

Dear Partners, may the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see if there is any unforgiveness in our own hearts. If so, may we respond to His Conviction (not condemnation) to Confess, so we can be Cleansed, and Continue our Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thank you for allowing me to labor in the vineyards around the nation-even in the cornfields of Iowa. It is a privilege to share each month with you a part of His Harvest! Continue to live in Resurrection Power!

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