Yesterday I talked with Brother Oscar and Sister Nellie about Mark and Sandra W. In his last letter Mark asked if he could bring Sandra W. to Tarboro so that we could meet her. Emily and Sarah will probably come, too, and I wasn’t just sure whether I could open my heart and home to Sandra or not. “To make a long story short” Oscar and Nellie pointed out that Jesus loved sinners and that love is capable of breaking down a person’s resistance much more than judgment and condemnation. Mark knows how I feel about his living in adultery with Sandra, but I am still to love him and her without condemnation.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for changing my heart attitude toward them.
Patience, kindness, gentleness — Lord, I want my spirit to be completely under the control of Your Spirit so that these qualities will be present in my life day by day.
Tonight I will be “preaching” for the first time at one of the nursing homes. Myrtle has done it so many times, in addition to leading the singing, that I felt guilty and volunteered to speak tonight. Thank You, Lord, for giving me Your confidence and a consciousness of Your presence. I thank You, too, for suggesting the topic of “peace” and all the beautiful Scriptures you showed me. May Your Word be a blessing to each and everyone tonight.
Lord Jesus, please teach me to love my brothers and sisters fervently and with a pure heart. Let me not be timid or afraid to show love. I desire that unfeigned love to flow through me to others today. Thank You for enabling me to love by Your indwelling Spirit.
Long letter from Mark on Saturday asking me once again to accept the reality of his relationship with Sandra W. and the termination of his marriage with Sandra S. I had already been convicted by something Brother Oscar said last Sunday night: “My responsibility is to pray for the unsaved person, not to convict him — this is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. I am to be loving, kind, and tolerant.” I realized that I had been trying to convict Mark of his sinful behavior by refusing to accept his relationship with Sandra W. In my heart I had been judging and condemning him. As Brother Oscar said, I must release Mark unto God through prayer and then just simply love him. So I wrote Mark yesterday and confessed my sin and asked his forgiveness. A burden has been lifted! I feel free now to love and accept Mark and Sandra W. — thank You, Holy Spirit, for convicting me and giving me the gift of repentance.
Now I must write Sandra S. For some time now I’ve had the feeling that I shouldn’t keep encouraging her to have faith that Mark would come back into their marriage, but rather begin to make a new life for herself without him. Mark says she is beginning to do this so now I must encourage her in that direction. I do pray, Lord, that Sandra will find real happiness and fulfillment in a Christian marriage. May Your perfect will be done for her.
Mark asked me to try to understand that he did not share my beliefs (about sin, etc.) and that to his way of thinking, his present lifestyle is much less “sinful” than before he left Sandra S. He has stopped lying and smoking (pot) and is being faithful to one woman. His life must really have been a mess!
Of course, Lord, I know You can still work a miracle and restore Mark and Sandra’s marriage, but I know, too, that You never force anyone to do something against his will. The future is in Your hands. For now, I believe You want me to accept reality and pour out Your love on all involved in this situation.
Brother Oscar (Rodriguez) told us Thursday night that Brother John wants him and Sister Nellie to stay in Tarboro a long time — he suggested they try to sell their house in Va. Beach (just moved in last December). Last Sunday we thought they might just fill in for a short while until the new pastor came, but we all know and love Brother Oscar and Nellie and need their maturity, wisdom, etc. There are many things that need to be set right so that unity can be restored.
The Radfords, Weathersbys, Tommy and Ann Boyd, and Irene were back in the fold Thursday night — what a blessing to see their dear faces again!
Kermit Radford called last night to ask me if I’d let Roger come back to school next week after Bill leaves — Roger is very unhappy at Grace Christian School in Rocky Mount. Of course we’ll welcome him back with open arms — and Barbara, too. She pulled some ligaments in her foot last Friday so won’t be able to come in this week. We had a good talk — somehow I feel closer to her now and more at ease.
When I have time I’ll record my foot problem last week —
“Father, I bless Harold with Your wisdom and guidance today. I bless him with a thirst for righteousness and a desire to love and serve You.”
Father, I humbly ask You to enable me to forgive Harold that he may be set free from the bondage that my unforgiveness is holding him in. Let Your divine forgiveness flow through me to him. Thank You for peace in our home.
Yesterday morning Bill Eibell announced that he and Carol were resigning as pastors. He said he felt that God was asking them to lay down their ministry for the good of the people. Brother Oscar and Sister Nellie were there. Bill had not expected them till Sunday night and was quite shaken up. He had planned to preach a “fiery” sermon, then break the news to us. Instead, he told us immediately that they were resigning. Those who have “stood fast” and remained must reach out to those who come back with God’s love — we must welcome them and make them feel we accept them. After the initial shock wore off and some of the emotional hurt, I began to feel a peace about Bill’s decision — he said that he hoped we would. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Bill said that he had failed in the most important aspect of being a pastor — he had not brought unity in the body.
“Father, I now bless Harold with the love and light of Christ and with spiritual growth. I bless our marriage with a spirit of love and forgiveness. I bless both of us, in Jesus’ name, with assurance that we are loved and accepted by the other one. I ask that the spirit of our marriage be totally healed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
I have prayed this prayer for Mark and Sandra, too.
Father God, please help me to truly understand Your grace and the redemption you have provided for me through Jesus. Set me free from the false guilt of my past sins and help me to realize that Your grace has erased them completely through the blood of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that the the redemption You have provided for me enables me to stand before You with no fear, guilt, or condemnation, because Your grace, through Jesus, has made me as though I had never sinned.
Thank You, dear Lord, for Your gift of grace — amazing grace.
Affirmation: “Because of God’s grace, I stand before Him with no fear, guilt, or condemnation.”