Pruned To Yield Fruit: Streams In The Desert, August 1st, 2010

“And every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” John 15:2


A child of God was dazed by the variety of afflictions which seemed to make her their target. Walking past a vineyard in the rich autumnal glow she noticed the untrimmed appearance and the luxuriant wealth of leaves on the vines, that the ground was given over to a tangle of weeds and grass, and that the whole place looked utterly uncared for; and as she pondered, the Heavenly Gardener whispered so precious a message that she would fain pass it on:

“My dear child, are you wondering at the sequence of trials in your life? Behold that vineyard and learn of it. The gardener ceases to prune, to trim, to harrow, or to pluck the ripe fruit only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. It is left to itself, because the season of fruit is past and further effort for the present would yield no profit. Comparative uselessness is the condition of freedom from suffering. Do you then wish me to cease pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone?” And the comforted heart cried, “No!” –Homera Homer-Dixon

It is the branch that bears the fruit,
That feels the knife,
To prune it for a larger growth,
A fuller life.

Though every budding twig be lopped,
And every grace
Of swaying tendril, springing leaf,
Be lost a space.

O thou whose life of joy seems reft,
Of beauty shorn;
Whose aspirations lie in dust,
All bruised and torn,

Rejoice, tho’ each desire, each dream,
Each hope of thine
Shall fall and fade; it is the hand
Of Love Divine

That holds the knife, that cuts and breaks
With tenderest touch,
That thou, whose life has borne some fruit
May’st now bear much.
–Annie Johnson Flint

Praise & Worship, July 31st, 2010

28 years ago this week Keith Green died in a tragic airplane crash.  Keith’s music had a powerful impact on my early Christian life and I’ve closed this week’s music with 5 of his songs.  I hope you enjoy them.  Allan

Song List

1.  Peace-  Sherri Youngward

2.  Walk On Water-  Britt Nicole

3.  I Saw What I Saw-  Sara Groves

4.  The More I Seek You-  Kari Jobe

5.  Jesus Messiah-  Chris Tomlin

6.  Breathe-  Marie Barnett/Vineyard

7.  Indescribable-  Laura Story

8.  Heaven Song-  Phil Wickham

9.  I Surrender All-  CeCe Winans

10.  Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful-  Keith Green

11.  Make My Life A Prayer To You-  Keith Green

12.  You Put This Love In My Heart-  Keith Green

13.  So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt-  Keith Green

14.  The Lord Is My Shepherd (23rd Psalm)-  Keith Green

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, July 30th, 2010

O Lord, grant that I may meet all that this coming day brings to me with spiritual tranquility. Grant that I may fully surrender myself to Thy holy Will.

At every hour of this day, direct and support me in all things. Whatsoever news may reach me in the course of the day, teach me to accept it with a calm soul and the firm conviction that all is subject to Thy holy Will.

Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions. In all unexpected occurrences, do let me forget that all is sent down from Thee.

Grant that I may deal straightforwardly and wisely with every member of my family, neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone.

O Lord, grant me the strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day and all the events that take place during it. Direct my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive, and to love. Amen.

New Prayer Request

Rachel-  would you please add my friends dave and jen to your list? their baby daughter (first baby) Danae was born on the 22nd, 14 weeks premature. she went to be with Jesus last night.

her parent’s don’t know the Lord and i am hoping that this does not turn them away from him. they are devastated, and so am i.

i also need wisdom to know how to be their friend right now. i want to be a blessing to them so badly.

thank you.

New Praise Report

Denise –  Hi Mr. Erunner. This is Denise. First of all, God is so good. Hes awesome. Yesterday, I got rebaptised in the name of Jesus Christ Acts 2:38, & then I was filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit! It was phenominal! Even during service, I felt the touch of Jesus as I spoke in tongues! God is faithful to his word that is a guarantee. All other ground is sinking sand. I thank God for you erunner & your ministry & your prayers & words of wisdom. I continue to solicit your prayers for my Pastors at New Abundant Life Church & the church family as God is restoring & reconciling us back to our first love. May God continue to bless & keep you in these last days. Love ya.

Past Prayer Requests

denise–  pray for me, my senior pastor & the members of my church. lately there has been conflict & misunderstandings & hurt feelings in the church. this is taking its toll on me & has caused depression in my soul to the point where i want to leave, go home & ask God to let me die of cancer. my thoughts are wrong, but I feel like a failure & a reject in the eyes of the church & in the eyes of my Lord.

denise–  thank you erunner for your comforting words. although i am still depressed & i still am praying that the Lord will kill me with cancer, things have just gotten unbearable living with mental illness & church rejection for most of my life. i wouldnt wish this illness on anyone. all it does is cause isolation, loneliness, rejection & ridicule. even as a person who is indwelt with the spirit of the Lord God can be crushed & devestated by the pain & despair of mental illness. i thank God for you & your ministry in these last days. i would rather suffer the pain of having cancer than to live another day with mental illness. its too much. if only more born again believers would be more compassionate & less judgemental towards the mentally ill, there would be less suicides & homicides. Gods blessings on you all!

Set Free–  I appreciate that you still have our request for a building. Some opportunities have been presented to us but nothing yet. We did move out from our previous location but we are trusting and believing God for a place of our own hopefully before the year is out.

Mom–  Thank you for keeping my request on your prayer list. Our son is doing better and is now able to work and is hoping to return to school next semester.

He’s been through different combinations of medications and we are hopeful that the current combinations will work for him in the long term.

He is still discouraged and is beating himself up for disenrolling from school. We try to encourage him, but he doesn’t receive it.. We are praying that God would allow him to live a rewarding life and that he see God’s hand in all this the last 5 months. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Allan- My sister’s husband is improving although still in a coma after two months.  Please pray that he will soon be weaned from his respirator and that he will have a miraculous recovery. Pray also for my sister and three adult children.

Allan–  Dorci has had surgery to remove a cyst from her spine.  Please pray that God would allow her to heal quickly and completely.

Mom– Would you all keep our family in prayer? I posted here under another name before, but feel more comfortable with this handle considering my prayer request. Our just turned 20 yr. old son, who disenrolled himself from his engineering studies 2 weeks ago, has been on a roller coaster ride for the last 3-4 weeks. Fortunately, he lives with us in an apartment on our property. First he was diagnosed with depression and prescribed prozac, then celexa. Unfortunately, he was pushed into mania and a mixed bipolar state. He is now recovering and though still agitated, is coming down on the correct medication, with good sleep, good food and good exercise. He has been diagnosed as bipolar and we now have begun the journey of helping him get the right help, medications and plan for his life. Please keep him and us in prayer, and prayer for wisdom for his doctor and counselor. Thank you so much—

Long Term Prayer Requests

Angela–  Keep Angela in prayer as she continues on her road of recovery from Anorexia.

Okie Preacher–  Battling unknown physical problems and depression.  “I have a physical problem that the doctors have not been able to identify. It has been characterized by severe muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, fatigue, shortage of breath, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, and coughing fits that almost cause me to pass out.”

White Horses- Prayer for anxious thoughts and worrying.

Shaun Sells–  Keep Shaun in prayer for wisdom as he seeks to continue his ministry to those with mental illness in his church.

Rachel–  Continued prayer as she struggles with bi-polar disorder.

Natalie Tan–   Keep Natalie in prayer as she moves further away from her battle with Anorexia.

Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S.

Bill Walden: The Benefit Of Locusts

Bill Walden is pastor of  Cornerstone Ministries in Napa Valley, Ca.  Bill also operates a blog.  They are both resources for this blog.  You can visit both sites by clicking   HERE and    HERE.   Allan

Joel 2:25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.”

There are years in South Africa when locusts swarm the land and eat the crops. They come in hordes, blocking out the sun. The crops are lost and a hard winter follows. The “years that the locusts eat” are feared and dreaded.

But the year after the locusts, South Africa reaps its greatest crops, for the dead bodies of the locusts serve as fertilizer for the new seed. And the locust year is restored as great crops swell the land.

This is a parable of our lives. There are seasons of deep distress and afflictions that sometimes eat all the usefulness of our lives away. Yet, the promise is that God will restore those locust years if we endure. We will reap if we faint not. Although now we do not know all the ‘whys’, we can be assured our times are in His hands.
—Ron Hembree in, Fruits of the Spirit, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1969).

Eating Disorders: Barriers To Treatment And Recovery

I have taken this article from the blog titled  “The Silent Suffering” which is located   HERE.  The blog is operated by Angela Scoggins who has battled eating disorders in her life.  Part one of Angela’s story is located    HERE.  Parts two and three are located   HERE and HERE.  Allan

INSURANCE

The Problem

Insurance companies are businesses.  Remember-they are not doctors.  They never see you.  They don’t know you.  Their concern is with what they find beneficial to them.  They don’t want to spend money on long term illnesses like mental health disorders, where treatment can continue for some time.

When an eating disorder is diagnosed, it is like sticking a huge red flag on the front of a file with your name on it.  Often, mental health disorders are not taken seriously by health care providers and insurance companies.  If you do not have insurance already, then obtaining it after diagnosis can be at best, an uphill battle, and at its worst, impossible. Even if you can become insured, or already have insurance prior to diagnosis and treatment, often the company will limit what they will pay.  They may refuse to pay for mental health care altogether, or they may limit you to outpatient treatment only.  There are horror stories of individuals being dropped from their insurance after maxing out benefits, and more often than not, individuals in treatment are forced by their insurance company to leave prematurely because of the demands and restraints that the insurance company has placed.

I would like to say a bit about medical care providers before I progress forward, because they do play a role in your treatment.  I can recall trips to the doctor where I was being seen for some sort of medical issue – like heart palpitations for example.  As soon as I mentioned my medical history, instead of checking my heart, the doctor promptly took out his prescription pad and scribbled me an Rx for some anti-depressant drug.  This left me (and my therapist) incredibly discouraged and angry.  I had a legitimate problem.  It was not in my head.  Yet, because I have an eating disorder, I must need a psych drug because obviously everything is all in my head.  I left the doc disgruntled, feeling belittled and foolish because my medical history dictated the kind of care I received.  The doctor did not take my palpitations seriously, instead attributing them to anxiety, when in actuality the palpitations did indeed have a very valid cause.  I was having “real” heart palpitations and if he would have checked my blood work like I requested, then he would have found my potassium was very low.  This would eventually be caught, thankfully.  It not only frustrated me that the doctor refused to believe something medical and not psychiatric was wrong with me, but also that even if my palpitations would have been related to anxiety, that is still a VERY REAL problem and would have been just as deserving of attention and treatment.  I say all of this for two reasons.  1) Often, if your medical care practitioners are not on board with you and understanding of you struggle, it can be that much more difficult to deal with insurance.  Often there has to be a lot of negotiating between doctors and insurance before some kind of coverage can be agreed upon.  And if your medical or psychiatric care providers know nothing about eating disorders, or don’t take them and the way they impact your life and body seriously, then why will an insurance company?  2) Don’t allow yourself to be treated in that way.  Voice how you feel.  And if your care is unsatisfactory, find another health care provider.  I did not return to that doctor again, and I didn’t fill that useless prescription, either.  Instead, I got a few other opinions and my lab work did the talking for me.

It can be difficult to find insurance coverage for someone diagnosed with an eating disorder.   I’d like to give you a bit of a personal testimony regarding the woes of insurance and eating disorders.

A Personal Story
When I first began treatment for anorexia in 2001 we didn’t really know what it would be like from a financial aspect, but we quickly saw that even on an outpatient basis, insurance companies treat mental health issues like eating disorders as if they are a joke.  Eating disorders are rarely recognized as serious illnesses even though they have the highest death rate of any mental health disorder.  My therapist really had to go to battle for me just to get me into my first treatment program despite being very ill and underweight, and 5 weeks into that program, the insurance company pulled out after agreeing to see it through.  They said they wouldn’t pay anymore.  Then, not only did they say they’d stop paying for any further treatment in the program, they also refused to pay for the time I’d already been there (though it was already agreed upon).  So, the ED program looked to my family, but more specifically ME (I had just turned 18) to pay the full amount of treatment – which cost thousands per day.  Of course I couldn’t pay that, and my parents told the hospital if they expected to see any kind of money from them they had another thing coming.  Apparently, the hospital was already immersed in a lawsuit with the same company we were insured with so they were going to be dealt with accordingly when it came to my case.  The next year rolled around and my dad’s work switched insurance companies.  I thought the new, larger insurance company would bring better benefits, but boy were they even worse.  They only paid up to 50% of my outpatient (leaving me with quite the hefty co-pay) and when I went back into the treatment program the next year, they put a cap on my treatment after only TWO WEEKS.  What can you accomplish in two weeks?  I mean, seriously?!  They also informed me that I’d maxed out my LIFETIME mental health benefits.  Gee, thanks.  So, you can imagine that the insurance was all to eager to get rid of me and probably rejoiced the day I graduated college and came off of my parents insurance.  I have been uninsured since.  My husband and I tried to get insurance when we first got married in 2007.  We literally tried every insurance company out there, and they all saw anorexia in my medical history and I was promptly denied coverage.  They all had a lot to say about it but essentially since you can’t “cure” an eating disorder, and because treatment is so long term and outrageously expensive I would not be able to get coverage.  I was also told that I didn’t meet the height/weight requirements set forth by the companies (obviously if I’ve been diagnosed with anorexia that area can be a problem).  Several companies told me that I was wasting my time because “no one will insure you because you have anorexia”. Others said that maybe one day, when I’ve been treatment free for at least a decade, I could possibly be considered. Thanks again.
Thus, I am part of the uninsured group, in need of medical care but unable to afford even a simple checkup.  This should not be acceptable, but unfortunately, my story is not unique and this saddening reality has yet to change.

“NOT SICK ENOUGH”

This is a quite common belief among people with eating disorders, because often the degree of severity of the disorder is judged erroneously by a person’s appearance and weight.  As a result, many people with eating disorders fail to seek adequate treatment, or any treatment at all, because they believe they are not sick enough to need help.  Also, in considering the distorted body image that comes with an eating disorder,  the sufferer may feel and see themselves as normal or overweight when in fact they are not.

The misconception of not being “sick enough” isn’t just found in individuals with the eating disorder, but can also be perceived by family, friends, and medical care providers.  Friends and family may believe that their friend or loved one is “ok” or doing “better” because they look ‘healthier’ or don’t look sick or emaciated.  When others view someone with an eating disorder this way, it discourages them from seeking help.  Additionally, medical care providers are not adequately trained for the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders.  They may wrongly perceive someone as being ok just because they do not appear emaciated or because their bloodwork is not abnormal.

DENIAL

The issue of denial can also correlate with the belief that “I’m not seek enough to need/deserve treatment”.  If an individual with an eating disorder doesn’t see themselves as controlled by their ED, and if they aren’t absolutely miserable with it, then that could lead to denial.  Sufferers may also look to those around them to dictate how ill they are, and if it is not seen as a serious problem then they may convince themselves that it’s really not that bad.

Denial can also be experience by family members and friends.  They may not want to believe that it is truly happening, or that it is something that needs attention.

While considering the amount of press eating disorders get, you may think it impossible that someone wouldn’t know what is going on, but to this day many have little/no knowledge of ED’s.  Someone may be suffering and not know it, which could lead to denial.  Or, they may know all about eating disorders, but not see themselves in the same light.  I did not know what was wrong with me when I was younger and only later did I discover eating disorders.  Even then , I didn’t think I was anorexic, because I didn’t realize that I was in fact, emaciated.

Most people don’t want to admit that something is wrong, or that it could be so bad that it warrants medical attention.

DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA

The diagnostic criteria for eating disorders, specifically anorexia, has been a prominent issue for sufferers and psychiatric care providers.  Often doctors who know little to nothing about eating disorders rely soley upon the criteria listed in the DSM-IV to diagnose someone who may have an eating disorder.

The two most problematic “requirements” are the loss of menstrual cycle and weight of the individual.  Usually, if these two components are missing, an individual would be diagnosed with “ED-NOS” rather than anorexia.There are many cases of individuals with anorexia who do NOT lose their menstrual cycle, even when severely underweight.  Does that make them any less a sufferer of anorexia? NO.

The weight requirement brings up a number of issues.  First, it can perpetuate the disorder by making sufferers feel “not thin enough”.  Second – an individual can be underweight, but due to the diagnostic criteria a physician may rule their illness as less severe because their weight is not below a certain percentage. Lastly, due to recovery and times of struggle, weight may fluctuate, and medical care providers may cause feelings of “inadequacy” in those with anorexia who have gained weight but are in need of treatment.  Also, there are individuals  who have  lost large percentages of body weight, but are not considered underweight, and due to the criteria, they may not be diagnosed at all.

You may go    HERE to sign the petition to the APA to change the diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa.  A revision to the DSM-IV is underway and is tentatively scheduled to be released in 2012.  To learn more about this , visit the APA’s website    HERE.

Forgiveness: Easier Said Than Done

I published this article over a year ago.  Many people end up at this blog because of this topic and I believe it’s well worth posting again.  7-26-2010

What follows is wisdom on the topic of forgiveness towards those who have hurt or injured us.  There is a freedom to be found through forgiveness.  It’s not simple and at times it sems unfair and undoable.  Yet God says we are to forgive.  I pray you will benefit from the following as you follow the prompting of God’s Spirit.  Allan

Definitions And Key Thoughts

What Forgiveness Is and Is Not

Forgiveness is giving up your right to hurt back. It does not diminish the evil
done against you, nor is it a denial of what happened.

Forgiveness does not take away the consequences the other person will face
because of his sin.

Forgiveness is letting go of your right to hurt the other person as he hurt
you.

Forgiveness is an act and a process. Feelings may not be immediate, nor easy; usually it is difficult and uncomfortable.

When you make a decision to forgive, God gives you the grace
and strength to forgive and to keep on forgiving.

Forgiveness is not weakness. It is the most powerful thing you can do. It breaks the hold that evil has on your life. Refusing to forgive allows evil to continue to hurt you; forgiveness helps stop the destructive power in yournlife.

Forgiveness does not depend on the other person’s actions. It is not probationary

(“I will only forgive as long as you don’t hurt me again”).

Forgiveness is not about the offense or the one who has offended you; it is about trusting God to take care of you.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Forgiveness does not require you to become a “doormat.”

Forgiveness does not require you to open yourself up to the offender to be hurt again. Forgiveness is a gift you give the offender. Trust, on the other hand, must be earned. You must still have boundaries with the person.

Forgiveness does not wait for the offender to repent. It is not about the person who hurt you repenting, it is about you deciding to forgive.

Forgiveness is about how much you trust God to take care of this for you.

Reasons to Forgive

It sets you free to move on with your life.

It refuses to allow that person who hurt you to have any more power in your life.

It opens up your relationship with God (Matthew 5:43-48).

It keeps you from becoming bitter, and thus protects those around you from having to deal with a bitter person.

It keeps you from becoming like the person who hurt you.

Unforgiveness doesn’t hurt the perpetrator at all; it only hurts you.

There is a difference

between mental

forgiveness and gut

forgiveness. For

example, when a

person has had an

affair, frequently the

wronged spouse will

choose to forgive

with the head right

away, but it will take

the gut months to

catch up.

—CHARLES STANLEY

When did Jesus forgive

you for your sin?

Two thousand years

ago on the cross.

Two thousand years

before you came and

begged his forgiveness,

forgiveness

was there—ready,

rich, full and free.

—JOSEPH M. STOWELL

WISE COUNSEL

Often a person does not forgive because he doesn’t understand what forgiveness is. He doesn’t want to let the person off the hook. He needs to understand that forgiveness lets him himself off the hook and refuses to allow the perpetrator any more power in his life. Forgiveness sets him free to go on with his life.

Using scripture from Biblical Insights, learn that forgiveness is not about the offender or the offense—it’s about you being free from the need to retaliate.

Empathize with yourself and validate the evil that has been done. Don’t minimize it.

Grieve the offense and the losses that have resulted from it.

Human power alone

is not sufficient to

reach full forgiveness.

There is an

element of forgiveness

that is divine. It

cannot be reached

without God.

—FRANK MINIRTH

ACTION STEPS

1. Acknowledge the Hurt

Don’t minimize it or deny it. It happened.

Don’t make excuses for the offender. It was wrong.

Write it down. Journaling is a great way to work through anger and hurt. It organizes your thoughts and helps you acknowledge the truth as you see it in black and white. Sometimes writing a letter to the offender is helpful. Do not send it, but writing it is cathartic.

2. Identify Your Emotions

When someone hurts you, you experience hurt and anger. These emotions are not sinful, but are a normal response to an offense.

It is important to identify how the offense made you feel and then to express it. After writing down the offense, write down how you felt when the offense happened and how you have felt since then.

3 Set Boundaries

Decide what you need to do to protect yourself from letting this person hurt you again. This involves how you react to the offender. For instance, you can be polite without being her best friend. You can listen without taking her advice. Write these boundaries down in your journal.

Spend as little time as possible with unsafe people. Unsafe people are those who continue to hurt you without regard for the damage it does in your life.

Don’t continue to look for approval from a person who has hurt you. Just as you don’t pay full price for damaged fruit in the grocery store, don’t pay full dollar for the offender’s approval. Recognize that, in a sense, he is damaged and is never going to be able to give you what you need.

Recognize also that you do not need his approval in order to live a free and fulfilling life. The only approval you need is God’s.

4. Cancel the Debt

Write the blank check of forgiveness. Write in your journal that this day you have released that person from the debt he owes you. You may want to write down the offenses they have done and then write “Canceled” or “Paid in Full” over them. You may want to burn the letter you wrote expressing your grief and hurt.

5. Make “Stones of Remembrance”

After God parted the Jordan River so the Israelites could go through on dry land, God told Joshua to have each tribe choose a stone to be piled up as a memorial to what great things God had done that day. Those stones served as a remembrance for the people and their children in times to come (Joshua 24).

It is good to have something “concrete” to help you remember the day you set your offender free.

6. Remember to Forget

When Corrie ten Boom was reminded of an offense someone had done to her, she responded, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Though you never really forget, you can remember that you forgave.

7. Recognize God’s Hand

God is in the offense; you were not a victim of Satan. Offenders are like tools in God’s hand to make you what He wants you to become. God is going to use this offense in your life for His plan.

Ask God to help you figure this out. Ask Him to show you how He will turn this into something good in your life.

Ask God to help you love the offender. Compassion is a type of love that feels pity for the offender and wants the best for him. Praying for the offender will help your feelings for him move from not wanting harm to come to him to wanting the best for him. Then you will know that you are truly free.

When you don’t

forgive someone,

in some way that

person is in jail, and

you are the warden.

You’re incarcerated,

too, because you

have to make sure

the prisoner stays

there.

—KERNEY FRANSTON

BIBLICAL INSIGHTS

He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest. —Leviticus 6:5, 6

The Old Testament offerings were designed so that the offender might receive
God’s forgiveness. But the wrongdoer also had to take responsibility for his or
her behavior by making restitution to the person who had been wronged.

We, too, must take responsibility for the effects of our sins on others. We need
to be reconciled not only to God, but also to those whom we have wronged.
Biblical law holds us responsible for our own behavior.

And when [David] had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom. —2 Samuel 14:33

Despite all that Absalom had done, David allowed for the possibility of reconciliation
by forgiving his son. Absalom, however, had no tears, no repentance,
no change of heart. Indeed, Absalom would eventually try to take his father’s
throne (2 Samuel 15:10).

One person can forgive, but it takes two to reconcile. Forgiveness does not
guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness, however, does put salve on those who
are willing to let go of the hurt and wrongs done by others.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” —Isaiah 43:25

When the guilt of past sins weighs us down, we must remember that when we
seek forgiveness, God “blots out” our transgressions and forgets our sins.

“Blotting out” sins pictures wiping the slate clean. Whatever sins we have committed,
God promises to erase them. He knows what we have done, but He
treats us as though we have never sinned.

Because God has forgiven us, we must forgive ourselves.

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” —Matthew 18:21, 22

Don’t even keep count; just keep on forgiving.

Jesus then told a parable about a man who, after receiving great forgiveness for
a large debt he owed to someone, refused to forgive a person who owed him a
small debt. Jesus was illustrating that we sinners have been graciously forgiven
by God—and are being forgiven daily, over and over again.

We should be just as gracious in forgiving others. To refuse to forgive shows
that we have not understood how much God has forgiven us.

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

—Mark 11:26

Jesus stated that God’s forgiveness of us is somehow related to how we forgive
others. When we accept God’s forgiveness of all the wrongs we have done Him,
we should be so grateful that we willingly offer that same kind of forgiveness to
those who have wronged us.

To refuse to forgive others shows that we do not appreciate the forgiveness God offers us.

Intellectual and

spiritual forgiveness

are important,

but you must work

through all the stages

to achieve emotional

forgiveness. You

must feel the pain,

feel the anger, weep

for the losses; then

you can forgive with

your mind, spirit and

heart.

—SHARON SNEED

PRAYER STARTER

Lord, you servant has been deeply hurt. I want to let go, to be free of the pain, but I am finding it very difficult. The emotions go all over the place and I don’t want this pain affecting me one more waking moment. Can you help me let this go?

Can you help me to forgive this offender as he has been forgiven by you? Can you give me a free life once again? . . .