The past several days have been very hectic. That is why I have not gotten a newsletter out for almost two weeks. Work has been busy as has been this ministry. After catching up with the e-mails, I planned to take a few days off to relax. But, that was not to be. The CARM discussion boards crashed and I spent three days getting them back in shape. Finally, they are up and running. But for a while I was so frustrated with reinstalling and configuring the boards, that I was ready to take the nearest large object in my office and chuck it out the window; that would be me! Oh well, at least they work now.
This last week I received an e-mail from the Mormon, only he was not a Mormon anymore. In his e-mail he asked me if I remembered him (I did not because I talk to so many people). But, apparently a few years ago, he would constantly challenge me on Mormonism and try to get me to believe it. Of course, since it is not biblical, that cannot happen. He told me that our conversations (I assume on the discussion boards and via e-mail) combined with the prayers of his family resulted in him leaving Mormonism and becoming a Christian. In fact, he is now so committed to the Lord that he is attending a Lutheran seminary in order to go into the ministry full-time. Praise God. CARM is having an effect.
Also this last week I received an e-mail from a woman who said that something I had written had set her free from the bondage of guilt she had retained for 20 years. You see, this woman had an abortion when she was a young girl. Through the years the guilt of what she had done slowly began to crush her spirit and her emotional stability. She began to drink and became an alcoholic; the guilt was destroying her. Three years ago she became a Christian and even though she had trusted the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of her sins, she still could not find release from the feelings of guilt. She knew that she was keeping the guilt and punishing herself with it and couldn't find a way to let it go. Then, she said she found my paper dealing with abortion and forgiveness. I had written about how we sometimes will punish ourselves by not truly receiving the forgiveness of Jesus and by keeping the guilt of something alive in us in order to make ourselves suffer. This becomes a kind of penance, a kind of restitution for some wrong in the past. Sometimes we think that if we punish ourselves with guilt long enough, after a while, then it will be okay to face God. But that is a lie. Nothing we do can make us worthy to face God. It must all rest in what Christ has done and in His work alone. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to be made worthy to be with Jesus and that includes holding on to guilt and beating ourselves up with it for a long time -- or even a short time. We need to come to Christ, confess our sins, and allow the blood of Christ to cleanse us from our sins. What Jesus has removed we cannot retain and we should never guilt-whip ourselves in order to "earn" forgiveness or be found worthy to be with Jesus. How can we punish ourselves for something that He was already been punished for? No. We must receive the forgiveness, let our sin go, and trust the Lord.
This woman said that she wept when she read my paper about forgiveness, about self-inflicted punishment, about retaining guilt, and about how it really is an offense to God to continue to punish herself for something that has been forgiven by God. She wrote me and told me that she finally realized what she had been doing all those years and gave it all to God. She said she was finally freed from the guilt and could rest in Christ.
All that we can say, is praise God for His grace.
CARM IS GETTING MORE POPULAR
The past few weeks have been rather surprising. CARM has repeatedly broken its own records in visits to the CARM Home Page at www.carm.org. In fact, four weeks ago, the Home Page was accessed just over 16,000 times; two weeks ago it broke 17,000 visits in one week, and last week the CARM home page was accessed more than 19,500 times. It should level off soon, but it sure is great to see CARM become more popular. Praise God.