Thursday, November 04, 2010


“I’ll never forgive him!” “I can’t forgive!” How often I have heard other people make these statements. They have been through some horrendous pain that has left a gaping wound and multiple scars in their everyday life. They somehow feel that refusing to forgive, refusing to put the pain into the hands of the only One who can really help them heal, will somehow justify their statement. We have all experienced some kind of pain in our lives. Some have experienced abandonment, while others have experienced abuse of the worst kind. Others have been bullied, and intimidated until their spirits were crushed. They want the pain to cease. They want the person who wounded them so badly to change. They stand alone, hoping, wishing, dying on the inside. But nothing ever seems to change. Even God seems not to notice. What’s a Christian to do?


One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life is that I cannot change anyone. Only God can change someone’s heart, and He can only do that if they allow Him to do it. As much a I might want to change the behavior, the thought patterns, or even the future relationship—nothing that I can do will guarantee their change—except prayer. Even then, prayer has a way of changing us rather than others. Sometimes we want God to change. But God never changes. He is ever the same. His very nature is marked by His unchangeable character—His immutability. Malachi 3:6 tells us “For I, the LORD, do not change…” He is the One who will continue to be faithful, even if all mankind is faithless. He will continue to love, even when we feel unlovable. When we allow bitterness and anger to build in our hearts, He continues to love us anyhow. He does not love the sin in which we often choose to wallow. But He does love His child. Though God never changes, there is one person that can change—YOU. You can choose to change your attitude about those who hurt you, about the God who seemed to abandon you. Your attitude colors the whole world around you. Those with a wound often carry a boulder on their shoulders. It weighs them down, hinders everything they do. It influences everyone in their lives. That boulder is like a bag of rattlesnakes. They wonder where they can leave it, yet they continue to carry it into every day of their lives. Change must come. It begins with putting Christ in full charge of all of your life. We say we have given Him our heart, but we often don’t give him our mind, or our bodies. We hang on to just the parts we want to control. He tells us to give it all to Him, and we grip that bag of rattlesnakes a little tighter. We know that God wants to control all the uncontrollable things in our lives, yet we tend to hang on to the things we think we can change, as if we deserve the credit. We want to be right. We tell ourselves, “We deserve it!” But the tighter we hang on to our unforgiving attitudes, the more we deserve all the pain we get. God cannot and will not violate our strong and sometimes childishly stubborn wills. He is like the prodigal’s father, who knew the mistakes his son was making by taking his share and leaving home before he should. He knew that a hard lessons would be learned. But he stood there, gave the boy the money, and watched him go down the road while his own heart must have been breaking. He waited, and waited and watched and watched….and one day his faith was rewarded. He longed for his child, and that desire caused him to look longingly down the road, watching for the return of the wayward child. God is like that father. He did not scold the son...he did not lecture him. He did not demand repayment of the money squandered. He ran to him with open arms. He took his coat and put it around his shoulders, put his own ring in his finger and he called him “Son” again. Earthly parents who are at odds with their children do not always behave that way. They want to continue to parent them. They want to show the wayward one they were wrong. It’s silly how we do that. When we make mistakes and learn from them, we know we made the mistake. Forgiveness looks beyond the sins of the past, and accepts the individual just as they are. God does that for us. We don’t deserve forgiveness. We often can’t forgive ourselves. We tend to be hardest on “me.” But there are lessons to be learned, and the prodigal son while still in a far country, had a sudden revelation. Why starve to death, when you can go and work for the finest employer in the land...Father—not as a son, but just as a hired hand.


It is the beginning of forgiving yourself. It is the awakening to reality. Yet how often we want God to do the humbling. He can’t do it. We must humble ourselves. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) How do we do this? By sincere repentance. Real humility comes when we choose to do the very thing that we hate to do—submit. Submission to God means total yielding of every area of our lives—our past, our present and our future. We fight submitting because it means that we are no longer in control...God is. But what better place to be—in His hands. He knows the future. He knows the pain. He knows all about our relationships. He knows the deepest hidden secrets in our hearts that we have never told another soul. He knows how to fix everything that is broken and make it like new. He is the one who totally forgives, and acts like it never ever happened. But family—well, that’s another thing. The prodigal’s younger brother who now owned all the rights to his Father’s remaining wealth, was shocked by the forgiving Father. He was jealous of his brother. Family may not respond like God does to us. But how should we respond to them? How did Jesus respond to those who hurt Him? “Father, Forgive them, for they know not what they do….” (Luke 23:34) Jesus knew the wicked hearts of those who crucified Him. He was not like many of us who as children were sometimes forced to say “I’m sorry,” when in our hearts we knew we were not sorry one little bit. We were play acting to appease our parents. Sometimes we carry forward into our adult lives those little pantomimes, and we say we forgive on the outside, but inside we are just waiting for the right moment to seek revenge. Jesus never pretended. Jesus, from His wounded heart, chose to deliberately forgive. Why? He knew the consequences of unforgiveness—sin, separation and death. He would have failed in His divine mission. He did not fail—He forgave!

This year, as you meet with family and friends during the holidays, take a moment in the privacy of your home and kneel before the God who chose to forgive you. Then choose to forgive those who have hurt you. It demands obedient hearts. He will walk with you into the most painful moments and put peace in your heart. If there has been a wall dividing hearts, take the adult step of offering your repentance and saying those two little words “I’m sorry” and “Forgive me”. If you want to truly experience God in your life, forgive. You can chase revivals, seek out the prophets and evangelists, have others lay hands on you, but if you do not forgive, God can’t forgive you. Unforgiveness causes all kinds of grief, including sickness, unanswered prayer, and broken relationships with God and man. “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break His heart. The Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, back biting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32 TMB) J. Johnson
Praise reports and prayer requests…..

Pray for revival! Pray for those who are struggling with forgiveness.

Pray for the Johnsons as they seek a new place of full time ministry...a church that needs strong leadership. Pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones.... Pray for Pastors, Evangelists, Missionaries, and Teachers. Pray for US Army Chaplain Steve Maglio

Pray for those needing a healing touch in their bodies: H Johnson (having back surgery Nov 1 recovering nicely) T Johnson (still having pain from her heart problems) J Deike (cancer) D Barth (cancer), J Brandon, (cancer) D Sherwin (cancer), L. Gardner (cancer). Pray for those dealing with chaos, anger, abuse, temptations and carnal sinful habits. Pray for the nation, for the President, for our service men and women, for Israel, for the unsaved, and don’t forget to Praise and thank the Lord!

Dear friends,

We have enjoyed a ministry opportunities in October in southern IL. Had a wonderful time in the presence of the Lord. Please pray that more doors of ministry will open for us in the days ahead. Please continue to pray for us as we seek God’s placement of our ministry. We are so thankful and so appreciate each of you who take the time to pray and write. God bless you all! God is faithful and we anticipate great things in the future… …Serving the Master

Dave & Joyce

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