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    I must follow up my last post. There are always consequences to our actions, to our words. Sometimes those consequences are good, other times bad. I frequently pray that the words of my heart and the meditations of my heart are found pleasing in God's eyes. Little did I know that my words could bring healing and forgiveness. 
    I meant what I wrote about last week. I work on being forgiving. I work on being non-judgemental. I often fail, but I seek God's forgiveness anyway. Forgiveness is a one person event. It doesn't take mutual agreement between both parties to gain forgiveness. I have forgiven those men who hurt my family. My times of struggle come when Satan tries to make me relive those old feelings of anger and hatred. I fight them with love. My words here are one form of that love.
    A battle was won through these words. It was not the content of what I wrote that did something. Just being faithful and sharing my heart caught someone's attention. I received a message a few days after that last post from one of the two men I wrote about. He shared his desire for forgiveness of past issues. I did not see that coming at all. Healing is a powerful thing.
    I don't know where he is at in life. I do know that he is probably reading these words. There are two messages I want to get across everyone reading:
1) I am no better than anyone else. I used to look down on people who called themselves Christians but got drunk often, or slept around, or cursed like a sailor. But then I realized that all sin, including my more socially acceptable sins like pride, anger, and envy, deserved the same punishment. It is only through Christ that anyone can be saved. I am not the one to have the final say in their salvation, so I should never judge their current struggles.
2) This cool situation came about because I asked a few friends to share my blog. I am not expecting something like that to happen often, but know that sharing words you agree with could help others. So I have a request that if you agree with what you read, if it was meaningful to you, repost.

With that I bid you farewell. Go and be blessed this week. John 20:21-23

 
 
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    I have often sat and tried to think of things I struggle with so I can get better. I have some pretty standard ones like pride or putting someone down, but it wasn't until Rick Dake talked about "Why Jesus" that I really found my deep rooted sin. He said something to the effect of "if you hurt my daughter, I'll kill you." Those words triggered a memory I had stashed in the filing cabinet mind of mine. 
    I have often thought of how I would respond if someone hurt my daughter (if I ever have one). But I know from similar past experience that I would really struggle with anger and forgiveness. The experience I speak of is learning of two different men at different times hurting my sisters. I won't go into details, but I saw the actions of these men wound my sisters deeply. I always said (in my mind) that if you hurt my family, I'll kill you. They seriously hurt my family.
    In the days and weeks following those events I fought myself internally in a battle of drastic proportions. I have heard the great stories of forgiveness and healing that have occurred through the ones hurt revealing their forgiveness to their oppressor. I had also heard of men being a real man and standing up for his family. Punishment for them would have been just. I had many people offer to drive and bring their shovel.
    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." -Marianne Williamson. I know that I am a powerful man in a physical sense. I have had years of athletic training to make me so. I also know I have the potential to be far more powerful in a spiritual sense if I give up my self-righteousness for Christ-righteousness. So the original question was "why Jesus?" Because my capabilities would be directed in ways unholy if not. Because I would probably be in jail or at least have a record if not. Because I want to fight the spiritual battles of this world to help prevent others from experience my sisters' (and my) pain. My sisters have moved on from these issues of past. It is time for me to move on as well. I must forgive. We must forgive.

 
 
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    Ephphatha is quite an interesting word. The first time my eyes passed over this word nothing struck me about it other than its oddness. It was not until Rick Dake explained the story in the book of Mark that I was able to understand the great meaning. Jesus told the deaf mute in Aramaic to "be opened". 
    Can you imagine having never heard a sound before in your life and first thing you hear is Christ saying "be opened". I like to think it was something like the experience Lucy had in the first book of the Narnia series as she had only known a drab old room with a wardrobe in it. Little did either person realize that on the other side of the opening was a world full of excitement and danger.
    Without the ability to hear, this man never experienced things like music, the ocean's crashing waves, or birds chirping. He also never experienced the harshness of mean words, shreaking screams, or cruel whispers. Jesus opened this man's world to exponential new possiblilities. Some of which would be very uncomfortable. He was accustomed to a certain way of things. The ability to hear was something this man had probably dreamed of,  yet when God granted him his heart's desire, he had plenty of new uncomfortable things he had to get used to.
    When entering into a relationship with Christ, we are opened to a whole new world of possibilities. To be opened to Christ is to be opened to life. One thing to remember is that with new life in Christ come the death of your old life. We don't change into a whole new personality. We change into a whole new life perspective and pursuit. The beauty in being opened by Christ is the gain of purpose in life. Without that purpose we wander aimlessly, making decisions based on feeling and short term gratification. My aimless wandering is over. Time to let the new me Ephphatha!